A Different Form of Protesting in Communism: The Reception of the American Counterculture in Eastern Europe

Matus Adrian

In my research, I shed light on a marginal phenomenon that emerged in the Eastern Europe of the 1960s. I focus on the reception of the American counterculture and, more specifically, I explain which ideas were imported in Romania, Hungary, Poland, and Yugoslavia. By developing this aspect, I try to understand the transfer of knowledge between East and West, through what György Péteri called not the Iron Curtain, but "the nylon Curtain" because starting from the 1960s, many American cultural products were actually quite widespread in Eastern and Central Europe.My research will explain the relationship between the Romanian counterculture of the 1960s and the Communist power, during the so-called "relative liberalization" period (1965-1971). By using semi-structured oral interviews, archives, poems and lyrics of this period, I will present and frame the counterculture movement from Romania, by comparing it with similar movements from Poland, DDR and Hungary. In my presentation, I will explain to what extent the youth adopted and when they adapted the original phenomenon in music, wearing, clothing and disk trafficking. A special focus will be on the new forms that emerged in Eastern Europe: Romanian musicians and poets constantly used traditional and national themes and symbols in their works of art. My aim is to frame correctly the counterculture movement into the context of socialist music, protesting and subverting the existing Establishment.

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