Mod as a Response to Alienation

The Mod movement is a response to Marx’s theory of Alienation. According to Karl Marx, during the time of the industrial revolution, people started to feel a disconnect in their live. There was an abrupt change from people living on farms and doing everything by hand to people having to work hard conditions in factories where they weren’t making the means to live, but working for money instead. According to Marx, “money is the alienated essence of work”, meaning that money is the key symbol for alienation. When people worked on farms, they would tend to the animals and crops, raise/ grow their own food, slaughter the animals, then cook their meals themselves. If they needed clothes, then you sewed them yourself. If you needed toys, then you made them yourself. Once people stopped benefiting directly from the objects they made themselves and had to exchange services for money in which they could then buy food, alienation took birth. “However, alienation appears not merely in the result but also in the process of production, within productive activity itself . . . .If the product of labor is alienation, production itself must be active alienation . . . The alienation of the object of labor merely summarizes the alienation in the work activity itself.” In this quote, Marx is saying that people develop themselves through work; so having no product to show for it (or an ‘alien’ product to show for it) at the end causes the worker to feel unaccomplished and does not fulfill himself.

During World War II, Britain experienced a huge disconnect. There were so many aspects of their lives that were out of their control. Britains’ were working in darker times, having bombs drop on their heads at any given moment in air raids and fear was at an all time high. There were so many things out of the ‘everyday man’s’ control that most of their time and labor went into supporting the war effort. Restrictions and rationing were applied to people everywhere people had to get by with as little as possible despite their hard work. Coming out of this oppressed time, people were desperately looking for some way to reconnect to everyday life. Amongst the post war haze, teenagers emerged as an age group. Teenagers were trying to find their place in society, children did not go straight from school to working the family business anymore, there was no urgency for them to settle down with a career, especially for women who were no longer needed at home to help their mothers. Anger and rebellion was without a doubt a force in the 1950s, but throughout 50s and 60s, teenagers started creating their lifestyles as a way to reconnect. These subcultures, such as mod and rocker, created a sense of community for members of a group who would shape their image based on their likes and choices and who could share these similarities with other members of a group. Music, fashion, cinema, styled homes/ decor, posh jobs at fashion boutiques and nightclubs are all Mods people tried to connect with a life they could call theirs; a life they create a benefit from.


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