Journal Article

The Isla Vista "Bank Burners" Ten Years Later: Notes on the Fate of Student Activists

JACK WHALEN and RICHARD FLACKS
Sociological Focus
Vol. 13, No. 3, SPECIAL ISSUE: YOUTH PROTEST IN THE 60s (August, 1980), pp. 215-236
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
https://www.jstor.org/stable/20831162
Page Count: 22
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The Isla Vista "Bank Burners" Ten Years Later: Notes on the Fate of Student Activists
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Abstract

This paper reports on on-going research into the "fate" of the student activists of the sixties. Indepth study of a small number of cases reveals strong continuities in all cases in adherence to the core-values of the student movement and to radical beliefs, but with considerable loss of commitment to the activist stance by many of our interviewees. It appears that some of this gap between values and action can be attributed to a reduction in feelings of political efficacy and to disillusionment with the possibilities for radical transformation of American society. Another primary continuity is their continuing refusal to settle for conventional identities and institutional ties. These former activists continue to assert the right to autonomous self-development, which was a major theme of student protest. We also discuss some of the personal and political history behind these themes: political events of 1969-1970, student activists' experiences during that period and their pathways of personal development and change through the seventies.