1968 – The Resonant Memory of a Rebellious Year

in Contention

The year 1968 has been considered a historical moment in the study of protest. What is celebrated on its fiftieth anniversary, as for any historical event, is a particularly specific vision of that year. This article bridges social movement studies with memory studies, arguing that social movement studies should give more attention to how movement events are remembered by subsequent movements. I argue that the memory of 1968 has proven to be selective, contested, and changeable over time. I suggest that, as memories of democratic transitions intertwined with anti-austerity protests, the memories of 1968’s rebellious year acquire a central relevance in times of quick transformation, in which old identities and relations are unsettled and new ones emerge. I explore this through a discussion of current debates on memory distortion, contestation, and fluidity.

Contention

The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest