1968 – The Resonant Memory of a Rebellious Year

in Contention
View More View Less
  • 1 Scuola Normale Superiore donatella.dellaporta@sns.it
Restricted access

Abstract

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.

Contributor Notes

Donatella della Porta is Professor of Political Science, Dean of the Department of Political and Social Sciences, and Director of the Political Science and Sociology PhD program at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, where she also leads the Center on Social Movement Studies (Cosmos). Among the main topics of her research are social movements, political violence, terrorism, corruption, the police, and protest policing. She recently directed the major ERC project, “Mobilizing for Democracy,” on civil society participation in democratization processes in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. Email: donatella.dellaporta@sns.it

Contention

The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest

  • Aly, Götz. 2009. Unser Kampf: 1968—Eine irriterter Blick zurück [Our fight: 1968—An irritated look back]. Frankfurt: S. Fischer Verlag.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Beissinger, Mark R. 2002. Nationalist Mobilization and the Collapse of the Soviet State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Bernhard, Michael, and Jan Kubik. 2014. “A Theory of the Politics of Memory.” In Twenty Years After Communism: The Politics of Memory and Commemoration, ed. Michael Bernhard and Jan Kubik, 736. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Capoccia, Giovanni, and R. Daniel Kelemen. 2007. “The Study of Critical Junctures: Theory, Narrative and Counterfactuals in Historical Institutionalism.” World Politics 59 (3): 341369. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0043887100020852.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cohn-Bendit, Daniel, and Rüdiger Dammann. 2007. “‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’: Die unangekündigte Weltveraenderung—Ein Vorwort” [“I can’t get no satisfaction”: The unannounced world change—A foreword]. In 1968: Die Revolte [1968: The revolt], ed. Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Rüdiger Dammann, 1118. Frankfurt: S. Fischer Verlag.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cornils, Ingo. 2018. “La memoria del Sessantotto in Germania” [The memory of sixty-eight in Germany]. In della Porta 2018b: 137159.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Crainz, Guido. 2003. Il paese mancato: Dal miracolo economico agli anni ottanta [The failed country: From the economic miracle to the eighties]. Rome: Donzelli.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Crouch, Colin. 2018. “Le eredità ambigue del Sessantotto” [The ambiguous legacies of sixty-eight]. In della Porta 2018: 205221.

  • della Porta, Donatella. 1996. Movimenti collettivie sistema politico in Italia, 1960–1995 [Collective movements and political system in Italy, 1960–1995]. Rome: Editori Laterza.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • della Porta, Donatella. 2017. Where Did the Revolution Go? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • della Porta, Donatella. 2018a. “Il 1968 nel 2018: memoria in movimento” [1968 in 2018: Memory in movement]. In della Porta 2018: 735.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • della Porta, Donatella, ed. 2018b. Sessantotto: Passato e presente dell’anno ribelle [Sixty-eight: Past and present of the rebel year]. Milan: Feltrinelli.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • della Porta, Donatella, Massimiliano Andretta, Tiago Fernandes, Eduardo Romanos, and Markos Vogiatzoglou. 2018. Legacies and Memories in Movements: Justice and Democracy in Southern Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Douzinas, Costas. 2018. “Eredità del 1968, speranze del 2018: Intervista di Hara Kouki a Costas Douzinas” [Inheritance of 1968, hopes of 2018: Hara Kouki’s interview with Costas Douzinas]. In della Porta 2018: 244261.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dreyfus-Armand, Geneviève, Robert Frank, Marie-Françoise Lévy, and Michelle Zancarini-Fournel, eds. 2000. Les années 68: Le temps de la contestation [The years ’68: The time of the challenge]. Paris. Éditions Complexe

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fillieule, Olivier, Isabelle Sommier, Sophie Beroud, and Camille Masclet, eds. 2018. Changer le monde, changer sa vie: Enquête sur les militants et les militants des années 1968 en France [Changing the world, changing one’s life: Investigating the activists of 1968 in France]. Paris: Actes Sud.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Frei, Norbert. 2008. 1968: Jugendrevolte und globaler Protest [1968: Youth revolt and global protest]. Bonn: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gilcher-Holtey, Ingrid, ed. (1998) 2008. 1968: Vom Ereignis zum Mythos [1968: From event to myth]. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

  • Halbwachs, Maurice. 1992. On Collective Memory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Hobsbawm, Eric, and Terence Ranger, eds. 1983. The Invention of Tradition. New York: Cambridge University Press.

  • Iglesias, Pablo. 2018. “L’ombra lunga del Maggio ’68 ha raggiunto il populismo: Intervista di Pedro Ibarra a Pablo Iglesias” [The long shadow of May ’68 reached populism: Pedro Ibarra’s interview with Pablo Iglesias]. In della Porta 2018: 225241

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jasper, James. 2014. Protest: A Cultural Introduction to Social Movements. Oxford: Oxford University Press,

  • Jélin, Elizabeth. 2018. “Il ’68 visto dal Sud: Storia e memoria in America Latina” [’68 seen from the south: History and memory in Latin America]. In della Porta 2018: 185204.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Klimke, Martin. 2008. “West Germany.” In 1968 in Europe: A History of Protest and Activism, 1956–1977, ed. Martin Klimke and Joachim Scharloth, 97110. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kornetis, Kostis 2018. “‘Tra Marat e Sade’: Ripensare il Sessantotto ‘decentrato’ in Grecia, Spagna e Portogallo” [“Between Marat and Sade”: Rethinking sixty-eight “decentralized” in Greece, Spain, and Portugal]. In della Porta 2018: 107135.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kraushaar, Wolfgang. 1998. Frankfurter Schule und Studentenbewegung: Von der Flaschenpost zum Molotowcocktail, 1946–1995 [Frankfurt School and student movement: From the message in the bottle to the Molotov cocktail, 1946–1995]. 3 vols. Munich: Rogner & Bernhard.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mahoney, James, and Daniel Schensul. 2006. “Historical Context and Path Dependence.” In Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis, ed. Robert E. Goodin and Charles Tilly, 454472. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Morin, Edgar, Claude Lefort, and Jean-Marc Coudray. 1968. Mai 1968: La brèche [Never 1968: The breach] Paris: Fayard.

  • Negt. Oskar. 1995. Achtundsechzig: Politische Intellektuelle und die Macht [Sixty-eight: Political intellectuals and power]. Göttingen: Steidl Verlag.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Neveu, Erik. 2014. “Memory Battles over Mai 68: Interpretative Struggles as a Cultural Re-play of Social Movements.” In Conceptualizing Culture in Social Movement Research, ed. Britta Baumgarten, Priska Daphi, and Peter Ullrich, 275299. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Neveu, Erik. 2018. “La memoria del maggio ’68 in Francia” [The memory of May ’68 in France]. In della Porta 2018: 83105.

  • Olick, Jeffrey K. 1999. “Collective Memory: The Two Cultures.” Sociological Theory 17 (3): 333348. https://doi.org/10.1111/0735-2751.00083.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Olick, Jeffrey K., and Daniel Levy. 1997. “Collective Memory and Cultural Constraint: Holocaust Myth and Rationality in German Politics.” American Sociological Review 62 (6): 921936. https://doi.org/10.2307/2657347.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Olick, Jeffrey K., and Joyce Robbins. 1998. “Social Memory Studies: From ‘Collective Memory’ to the Historical Sociology of Mnemonic Practices.” Annual Review of Sociology 24: 105140. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/223476.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ortoleva, Giuseppe. (1988) 1998. Saggio sui movimenti del 1968 in Europa e in America [Essay on the 1968 movements in Europe and America]. Rome: Editori Riuniti.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ost, David. 2018. “‘Abbasso il 1989!’: Strane reazioni di destra al Sessantotto polacco” [“Down with 1989!” Strange reactions right to the Polish sixties]. In della Porta 2018: 161184.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Passerini, Luisa. (1998) 2008. Storie di donne e di femministe [Stories of women and feminists]. Turin: Rosenberg & Sellier.

  • Roberts, Kenneth. 2015. Changing Courses: Party Systems in Latin America’s Neoliberal Era. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Ross, Kristin. 2002. May ’68 and Its Afterlives. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Schudson, Michael. 1995. “Dynamics of Distortion in Collective Memory.” In Memory Distortion: How Minds, Brains, and Societies Reconstructs the Past, ed. Daniel L. Schachter, 346364. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schwartz, Barry. 1996. “Memory as a Cultural System: Abraham Lincoln in World War II.” American Sociological Review 61 (5): 908927. https://doi.org/10.2307/2096461.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sewell, William H. 1996. “Three Temporalities: Toward an Eventful Sociology.” In The Historic Turn in the Human Sciences, ed. Terrence J. McDonald, 245280. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Siegfried, Detlef. 2008. “Furor und Wissenschaft: Vierzig Jahre nach ‘1968’” [Fury and science: Forty years after “1968”]. Zeithistorische Forschungen / Studies in Contemporary History 5: S130141.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Swidler, Ann. 1986. “Culture in Action: Symbols and Strategies.” American Sociological Review 51 (2): 273286. https://doi.org/10.2307/2095521.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tarrow, Sidney. 1989. Democracy and Disorder: Protest and Politics in Italy, 1965–1975. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Originally published as Democrazia e disordine: Movimenti di protesta e politica in Italia, 1965–1975 (Rome: Editori Laterza, 1990).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tarrow, Sidney. 2018. “Il 1968 come ‘momento critico’: Tra cambiamento sinottico e graduale” [1968 as a “critical moment”: Between synoptic and gradual change]. In della Porta 2018: 3956.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Trickett, John, Emma Rees, and Adam Klug. 2018. “Convergenza tra generazioni: La speranza comune di una politica nuova—Intervista di Hilary Wainwright a John Trickett, Emma Rees e Adam Klug” [Convergence between generations: The common hope of a new politics—Hilary Wainwright’s interview with with John Trickett, Emma Rees, and Adam Klug]. In della Porta 2018: 263296.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wagner-Pacifici, Robin. 1996. “Memories in the Making: The Shapes of Things That Went.” Qualitative Sociology 19 (3): 301321. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02393274.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zamponi, Lorenzo. 2013. “Collective Memory and Social Movements.” In The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political and Social Movements, ed. David A. Snow, Donatella della Porta, Bert Klandermans, and Doug McAdam, 225229. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zamponi, Lorenzo. 2018a. Social Movements, Memory and Media. Narrative in Action in the Italian and Spanish Student Movements. London: Palgrave

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zamponi, Lorenzo. 2018b. “La memoria in azione: Narrazioni del Sessantotto nel movimento studentesco italiano del 2008–2011” [The memory in action: Narrations of sixty-eight in the Italian student movement of 2008–2011]. In della Porta 2018: 5781.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zamponi, Lorenzo, and Priska Daphi. 2014. “Breaks and Continuities in and between Cycles of Protest: Memories and Legacies of the Global Justice Movement.” In Spreading Protest: Social Movements in Times of Crisis, ed. Donatella della Porta and Alice Mattoni, 193226. Essex: ECPR Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zelizer, Barbie. 1995. “Reading the Past against the Grain: The Shape of Memory Studies.” Critical Studies in Mass Communication 12 (2): 214239. https://doi.org/10.1080/15295039509366932.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zerubavel, Eviatar. 1996. “Social Memories: Steps to a Sociology of the Past.” Qualitative Sociology 19 (3): 283299. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02393273.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zolberg, Aristide R. 1972. “Moments of Madness.” Politics and Society 2 (2): 183207. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F003232927200200203.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 29 29 1
Full Text Views 17 17 0
PDF Downloads 20 20 0