Originally published as The New People, this classic volume examines the great changes in popular culture that unfolded in the 1960s with major steps toward political, racial, gender, and social empowerment. The popular culture of the time expressed a series of themes that have become, if not more significant, then certainly more visible in the 1990s. We are now entering the third generation of Americans who are living out the themes that are traced in this book.
The author sees a depolarization, a neutering in content and key people in the popular arts. Some of these trends result from technological changes and others reflect what is happening in the psychosocial interior of the family as well as larger economic movements. Winick believes that in such wide-ranging features of our society as sports, furniture, and architecture, the expression of an epoch can be identified. Clothing conveys the imbalance and ambiguity that reflect larger social forces and that have been identified more recently by Jacques Lacan as so important in modern life. Desexualization in American Life is remarkably prescient and accurate in identifying key trends that affect us today and will continue to do so for the remainder of the decade.