This thesis examines the birth of the late 1960s counterculture in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. Surveying the area through a lens of geographic place and space, this research will look at the historical factors that led to the rise of a counterculture here. To contextualize this development, it is necessary to examine the development of a cosmopolitan neighborhood after World War II that was multicultural and bohemian into something culturally unique. It was within this space that a wellspring of drop-out culture evolved from a combination of psychedelic drugs, experimental lifestyles, and anarchistic thought. The contention of countercultural place was fully realized in the lead up to and during the "Summer of Love" in 1967. This pinnacle moment was also its demise as the massive influx of young people into the area stressed the area and the idea of a local hippie movement to a breaking point. The final part of this thesis looks at how this experience changed the area, and how the countercultural moved on to become a national movement, while its key practitioners moved their countercultural place making to smaller rural communes, where the lessons of the Haight-Ashbury could be applied. Collectively this work examines how a group of young people developed and changed the meaning of the Haight-Ashbury through the development of countercultural place thus inspiring a national movement that would adjust American society in innumerable ways.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Mercer, Kevin, "Hippieland: Bohemian Space and Countercultural Place in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5540.