Culture and Commitment
Culture and Commitment by Margaret Mead is an ethnography of the 1960’s and 70’s pertaining to the gap in generations started in the mid 1940’s. It tells of the generation gap created by new technologies such as the nuclear bomb, space exploration, satellites that revolve around the earth, and the planet now being an intercommunicating whole. The effects that these new technologies have had on our culture are explained. Also the hopes and possibly new ways to bring the two sides of this gap back together, or at the very least make it possible for the two sides to be able to communicate with each other.
On one of the sides of the gap that I have mentioned are the elders, born and reared prior to the mid 1940’s when the first atomic bomb was exploded. On the other side, the generation bore after that irreversible date. That day the bomb was dropped is what started the divide between these two sides, starting the “Atomic Age”. Now war was not only able to wipe out possibly an entire culture, but could destroy the entire planet. This is a thought and now a concern that the elders never had to consider, but the new generation would have to live with everyday, never knowing what it was like not to. This would be the first in many new inventions and developments to separate these two sides, but not the last.
In times before, in which Mead used the term, “postfigurative culture”, in which the future would repeat the past. A good example of this is the parent of a child who was still unborn, would know his or hers child’s future. They would live their lives after the model that their elder had created for them in their life. This was beneficial not only to the elder, who would know what lie ahead for their child, but for the child as well. The child would be able to turn to the elder for answers and advice because they would be wise to what the child needed, and was going through.