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POST- wWII Canada: suburbia & baby boom. What are the cultural values that characterized the 1950-1960’s? What values, needs did people think suburbia would fulfill? Did it succeed? How did television and marketing influence consumption patterns and what are the consequences today? .

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Post wwii canada suburbia baby boom
POST-wWII Canada:suburbia & baby boom

Post wwii canada suburbia baby boom

suburbia 1950-1960’s?

  • “The place of wide lawns and narrow minds” (Ernest Hemingway)

  • Stereotypes of Suburbia:

  • Repression

  • Whiteness

  • Patriarchal

  • Conformity

  • Suburbia ‘covering up’ a twisted, dark reality underneath:

  • Edward Scissorhands, American Beauty, The Stepford Wives (1975/2004), Pleasantville, Blue Velvet

Post wwii canada
POST-WWII CANADA: 1950-1960’s?

  • The “Baby Boom”

    • Soldiers returning home

    • Strong economy, high consumer confidence

    • Family allowances (“baby bonuses”) - 1945

    • Social security, unemployment insurance act - 1940

Population growth
Population growth 1950-1960’s?

  • 12 million in 1946  18 million 1961 (50% growth in 15 years)

  • Immigration: 1952 limited by ethnic origin

  • Demand for labourmore open policies

  • 2.5 million new immigrants between 1945-1947: many refugees and displaced persons from Europe

  • Pre-WWI immigrants settled in western prairies/farmlands

  • Post-WWII immigrants mostly settling in cities

urbanization 1950-1960’s?

  • Construction boom: housing, schools, factories

  • Growth of cities: immigrants, where most new jobs are

  • Urbanization: the movement of people from rural to urban

    • ~1900, 2/3 of people live in rural areas

    • ~1970, 2/3 of people live in urban areas

    • Cities become more crowded, dirty

    • Those who want (need) to work in city, but also want to have more space, a detached single family home, a garden

      • Large housing developments built just outside cities: Suburbs

suburbia 1950-1960’s?

  • Traditional family, family focused

  • Some women lose jobs to returning veterans, some still work

  • Emphasis of traditional femininity, domestic goddess (advertising)

  • Big homes need stuff: household appliances, gadgets, furniture, décor

  • Environment: low density housing, large lots, pesticide use for perfect lawns/gardens, individual automobile commute to work and services

  • Dependency on cars: more affordable, more access made suburbs possible

materialism 1950-1960’s?

  • Optimism, consumer confidence

  • The good life = the latest technology and products (status)

  • Competition with neighbours (“Keeping up with the Joneses”)

  • Conspicuous consumption:

  • The spending of money on and the acquiring of luxury goods and services to publicly display economic power

  • Not to satisfy any physical need, but rather to gratify the psychological craving for status or the esteem of others.

advertising 1950-1960’s?

  • Boomer generation: purchasing goods for kids

  • Shopping as a past time, shopping mall as cultural gathering place

  • 1950’s: most families have a TV in the home

  • Growth of advertising industry

  • Less regulation on truth of claims (safety, health risks, promised results)

  • Increased rate of new products, versions (planned obsolescence)

Legacy of the baby boom
Legacy of the baby boom 1950-1960’s?

  • 60’s/70’s: protest generation

  • Echo boom (Gen Y, 1982-1995)

  • Demand for social services as they age through the system

Legacy of the suburbs
Legacy of the suburbs 1950-1960’s?

  • Today: 2/3rds of Canadians live in suburbs

  • How they are known, remembered, parodied in culture – what they have come to symbolize in national memory

  • Environmental impact: patterns that persist today (car culture)

  • Urban sprawl and loss of farmland

  • Building on sensitive lands: erosion, groundwater contamination

  • Consumerism: waste, planned obsolescence

  • Suburbs today: more ethnically diverse