Yep. We think of the 50s as this era of conformity and safety, but really it was an era of deep social dysfunction, because in part the strictures were so much reinforced via the culture... it's just that everyone hid it behind a mask of conformity, in part because they were afraid of losing their security/jobs/social standing because they were accused of being communists or gay.
But there was a whole lot of non-conformity and turmoil during the 50s that are generally ignored or glossed over, and I think the beats are just one example of that, really. I don't think the late 40s or 50s were less tumultuous than the 60s, it's just that the culture was less prone to express that. Plus it plays nicely into the 60s as an era of transformation and change, led by the youth (hence reinforcing the normantive notion of youth as cutting edge, really meaning cutting edge consumers). Funny how the writing of history works that way. We have such a weird focus on the 60s, when the 50s and 70s were just as, if not more interesting, I think.
Edited to add: Maybe "deep social dysfunction" is the wrong term to use here? Maybe a better tern is turmoil or transformation? Dysfunction implies that there was something inherently deviant about the way people were or are, but I think it's a problem of society as a whole looking to shape people into particular boxes, and people looking to either conform and failing, or not caring and not conforming.