Popular Music and Society: Britain and the USA after 1945

Ref: C2225619

The second half of the 20th century witnessed the remarkable birth of a popular culture, driven by teenage musical tastes, greater individual freedoms, increased prosperity and the widening of consumer choice generated by consumerism. Social and economic problems persisted however; continuing international tension caused by the Cold War and linked to the possibility of nuclear Armageddon, racial inequality and violence in the USA, worldwide youth protest against the Vietnam War and the possibility of revolution in Europe. How did popular music reflect this new individualised culture set in the context of such a troubled world?

Additional information about this course

This course will end at 9.30pm to allow for a short 15 minute break.

Course aim

The course will examine popular music culture from 1945 to 1989 as both a reflection and instigator of major social, economic and political change in the western world.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Apply critical thinking skills to assess change and continuity in historical processes.
  • Apply critical thinking skills to assess cultural values held by various groups in different societies at different points in the past.
  • Apply critical thinking skills to assess issues concerning diversity both from a contemporary and historical perspective.
  • Describe and critique the drivers for change in popular social culture.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

Popular Music and Society: Britain and the USA after 1945

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course is not available for online enrolment.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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