The epitome of reprehensible individualism: The Dutch response to the Walkman, 1980–1995

Jesper Verhoef*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nowhere were Walkmans in higher demand than in the Netherlands. Especially youth embraced the device. This research presents a discourse analysis of Dutch media coverage of the Walkman from 1980 through 1995. It demonstrates that portable cassette players were met with pervasive cultural pessimism, for they were believed to symbolize and spur deplorable individualism, which purportedly manifested itself in consumerism; isolation; escapism; and inconsiderateness. In debates on all four topics, youth was made out to be materialistic and self-absorbed. Such criticism, this research argues, helped create a generational divide and added to a societal climate in which vested powers could discursively and economically target youth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1303-1319
Number of pages17
JournalConvergence
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

Research programs

  • ESHCC HIS

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