In the book Stayin’ Alive historian Jefferson Cowie writes a very engaging explanation of the political and cultural aspects that effected white workers’ economic individuality and what damaged a “vibrant, multi-cultural, and gender conscious conceptualization of class” (Stayin Alive, Cowie. 72). A single portion of the narrative touches on the rise of the New Right while another tracks the breakdown of working-class cultural idols. New Deal liberalism and the growth of a New Right founded upon a white working-class cultural conservatism are both not a new story. In Stayin’ Alive, the essential catastrophe of the 1970s was not only the Watergate incident, stagflation, racial conflict, and the local scuffles over the Vietnam War, however;
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Countercultural musicians such as Bob Dylan, the Byrd’s, and the Grateful Dead began recording country based albums in the late 1960s, and the theme of country rock was a main element of the record industry’s expansion during the 1970s. Just as some New Left activists had been trying to insinuate factories and working-class neighborhoods, musicians like Jackson Browne and The Band glamorized the historical struggles of working-class Americans in their music. Nonetheless, these liberal, countercultural views did not stick as signifiers of the working-class practicality.
Cowie also reminds us that the mass migration of white working-class voters did not happen in 1980, but actually happened in 1972. Labor, in the end, did everything it could to help defeat McGovern in 1972 and many never forgot. Nixon developed a strategy in order to communicate with the white working class in methods the Democrats had failed to do. The politics of culture and representation are central to understanding the decade. "Class, always a fragile concept in American civic life, died the death of a thousand cuts in the 1970s...,"(Cowie, Stayin Alive) political, cultural and economic.
Cowie really starts detailing his point in the seventh chapter, which returns to the analysis of music and popular culture. In the chapter, Bruce Springsteen is singing about racing in the rustbelt’s deindustrializing streets just as developing punk bands