This paper attempts to account for some of the special characteristics of contemporary student rebellion, and especially for the fact that probably for the first time in history at least some parts of this movement tend to become entirely dissociated from broader social or national movements-from the adult world-and exhibit general and widespread alienation from the existing social order. These characteristics are explained at least partially by the convergence and mutual reinforcement of the two major sets of conditions or processes, namely, of widespread intellectual antinomianism on the one hand, and of generational discontinuity and conflict on the other, and of their simultaneous extension to the central zones of a society and to very wide groups and strata alike. The emergence of these two characteristics is analyzed in terms of some of the major structural and symbolic developments in highly developed societies, as well as of their counterparts in developing nations. In the last part of the paper, some possible effects of these movements on the structure of contemporary societies are analyzed.
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