Memories of May '68 : France's convenient consensus by Chris Reynolds

By Chris Reynolds

For over 40 years now, 1968 in France has been the point of interest of a lot awareness. whereas mai sixty eight is definitely noticeable as a watershed within the improvement of French society, a typical narrative that portrays it in an more and more reductive mild has develop into favourite. hence, the French collective reminiscence of 1968 has been formed and cultivated in any such means that undermines precise significance of the 'events'. Why this is often the Read more...


This publication charts and analyses the emergence of the normal illustration of the French occasions of 1968 and argues that the dominance of this narrative, regardless of its barriers, stems from the Read more...

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Additional resources for Memories of May '68 : France's convenient consensus

Sample text

It is possible therefore to see just how, in the �thirty-�year period between 1968 and 1998, the nature of the extensive coverage afforded to the events has been progressively narrowed. Through the range of vectors outlined above, the significance of the events, their widespread nature, as well as their extensive impact, have been reduced. The nationwide crisis that involved so many sectors of French society, young and old, that led to the largest strike in French history and threatened the regime in power has not been represented as such.

Indd 37 09/08/2011 12:16 38 Memories of May ’68 situation in the education system is portrayed as having heightened the desire of young people to challenge the status quo. 14 Whilst much is commonly made of protests demanding libre circulation,15 the inability of the university system to absorb such an increase in students added to increasing anxiety amongst young people concerning future employment prospects and helps to explain why the faculties served as the spark for the crisis of 1968. The general consensus is that the upheaval resulted from the convergence of the factors outlined above.

114 The basic premise centres on the idea that one commemorative period cannot exist in isolation from – or without being influenced by – those that have come before. Even when contextual shifts have led to a complete overhaul in a nation’s relationship with the past, the nature of previous commemorations leaves an ineffaceable imprint. New elements can be introduced and emphasis shifted, but the core discourse remains. 115 In the case of the 1968 events, not only has this core representation remained, but the shifts brought about by contextual changes have further embedded the predominant Â�over-Â�arching interpretation and reading.

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