- We need to understand why the young. Why the young man represented a threat to the
social order. Before we explore the events, trends and movements of 1968 we need to
understand the political and social shifts.
- Decline and fall of the world population of Western Europe that resulted in an upward and
mobile rural population.
- We have people moving away from the countryside into the cities. They become more
educated then there parents and their elders. New occupations require secondary and
tertiary education in ways that weren’t necessary in earlier years.
- Before WWII, if we combine the UK and France the number of University students was
less then 1/10 1%.
- After WWII, we had as much as 20% of the population that was going to university. We
have a massive increase in the accessibility to post-secondary education.
- Many historians say that in Post-War Europe this new group of young people created a
new body of citizens. The young university students came into existence in the 1950’s in
Europe and elsewhere and this new social category whom would play an important role in
- Students matter even if they’re not the highest numerical group because they’re the most
visible challenge to the status of the status quo. This movement gave strength and
credibility to other movements.
- We have this new generation of university students. Why did so many turns to
radicalization? We had too many people occupying a space in society that wasn’t clearly
defined. It wasn’t clear what these young people were supposed to do in society. Their
identity was compounded by real concerns.
- Students were very concerned that if the access to university would be a real access or if it
would simply be a paper diploma because the number of students were growing by 5-6
- Some people though the universities needed to change themselves because there were so
many more students. These material concerns about the way universities work were tied
into what being a student was? Before the war being a student was an exceptional
experience. Now that it became accessible to everyone what did it mean?
- Another new group occupying a new social space were women. They began to work in far
greater numbers and also were able to access university at the same or a superior pace
- The new feminist movements of the 1960’s depended on the entry of women into the
- These women demanded equal pay, social rights and political rights.
- Feminism was an important aspect of the 1950-1960’s turbulence.
- One of the important changes is that the traditional family model or family society began
to take on a dthferent character after WWII.
- In the late 19 century the bourgeois would workthnd in the public sphere. Women of the
upper classes might’ve worked but in the 19 century the woman stays at home and raises
children. This model no longer worked in the 1960’s. Divorce became more prevalent of
new laws whom enabled divorce. For the first time people began living alone. Not a very
high number but compared to previous generations we had more and more people whom
would live on their owns.
- The coupled families with children began to become a minority rather then the majority
idea. - This corresponds to a general liberalization with regards to sex roles. This helped gays
and lesbians with decriminalizing these aspirations.
- Feminists and students attack these ideas of traditional gender roles. She contextualises
men and women’s attitudes. (Reading).
- A lot of anxiety started to create because a lot of individuals in the 1960-1970 rejected the
idea of adolescence. They didn’t want to stay as eternal students in a pre-arranged plan
made by their parents.
- They also didn’t want to be “adults” this is where the slogan “Never trust above 30”.
What was novel about this conception in the 1960’s was that it existed. This was a new
social category an individual stuck between adolescence and adult-hood.
- Young people became social actors. Some of them see this as a boom, a new market and
new products. Parents and Teachers are less excited about this social group whom
assumes an authority younger generations didn’t have earlier on.
- Social scientists begin to talk of young adults as preparation for adulthood but not
childhood either. In the late 1960’s is when a culture of celebrating youth takes on its
own. We start to see advertising aimed at not only the young but also everyone. These
changes do not change into political change. The elder individuals hold most political
leadership. And they’re usually men.
- What started happening however was bringing in young workers and appealing to them.
- One of the identities was the internationalism. The generic figure of the young person
wanted to travel abroad, Europeans started to listen to British and American music. These
international interests defined the clothing as well. They tend to support the clothing style
of their nation. Dressing as a member of the working class.
- Individuals cannot underestimate the divide between this youth and their parents. It's
important to view this to understand 1968. The young generation has radically different
ideas of life based on their learning and expectations.
- Parents came of age during the 1930’s. These are children whom lived during the
depression in WWII. These parents push security; freedom and access to social welfare
are the most important elements.
- Their children have had a different life. They’re born after WWII; they’re born in a post-
war boom. The security of a job seems like a prison, they have no reason to think that
they shouldn’t be able to travel or leave the job they dislike. They have no reason to stay
and do the same job as their parents. They come of age in a massive age of
unemployment. They can explain that security isn’t the most important in life.
- What 1968 means in different context means is quite different? It’s specifically targeted
towards a revolution. The goal of this rev