Between Marx and Coca-Cola

Between Marx and Coca-Cola: Youth Cultures in Changing European Societies, 1960-1980

Axel Schildt
Detlef Siegfried
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 436
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  • Book Info
    Between Marx and Coca-Cola
    Book Description:

    In the 1960s and 1970s, Western Europe's "Golden Age" (Eric Hobsbawm), a new youth consciousness emerged, which gave this period its distinctive character. Offering rich and new material, this volume moves beyond the easy conflation of youth culture and "Americanization" and instead sets out to show, for the first time, how international developments fused with national traditions to produce specific youth cultures that became the leading trendsetters of emergent post-industrial Western societies. It presents a multi-faceted portrait of European youth cultures, colored by differences in gender, class, and education, and points out the tension between emerging consumerism and growing politicisation, succinctly expressed by Jean-Luc Godard in his 1967 pairing of "Marx and Coca-Cola."

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-685-4
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Axel Schildt and Detlef Siegfried
  4. Introduction Youth, Consumption, and Politics in the Age of Radical Change
    (pp. 1-36)
    Axel Schildt and Detlef Siegfried

    In his movieMasculin—Féminin or: The Children of Marx and Coca-Cola—a 1965 French-Swedish coproduction—Jean-Luc Godard depicts the complicated love affair of two “children of the 1960s,” a young man with social interests and a young female pop vocalist, who regularly frequented Parisian coffee houses. The movie, blending fictional and documentary elements, dealt with the problem of navigating in a world in which politics involved individuals more than before and in which consumption on an unprecedented level opened up a myriad of opportunities to pursue one’s life. The movie succeeded as a political commentary of its time and...

  5. Part I: Politics and Culture in the “Golden Age”
    • Chapter 1 Youth Culture and the Cultural Revolution of the Long Sixties
      (pp. 39-58)
      Arthur Marwick

      By the 1950s West European countries were beginning to enjoy some of the fruits of the affluence that had previously characterised only the United States, as recognized by the French historian Jean Fourastié with respect to the thirty glorious years between 1946 and 1975 or again by Eric Hobsbawm who describes “the golden age” between 1945 and 1973.¹ It took time for affluence to translate into the cultural transformations described in this book, and then only because affluenceconvergedwith other crucial demographic, technological, ideological and institutional factors. The most important of the demographic factors was the working through of...

    • Chapter 2 Understanding 1968: Youth Rebellion, Generational Change and Postindustrial Society
      (pp. 59-81)
      Detlef Siegfried

      When examining the events of 1968 contemporaries as well as later interpreters have continuously focused on the generational aspect of the revolt, often interpreting it in terms of a “youth rebellion” or a “student revolt,”¹ that is, a sudden uprising of young people subverting essential structures of society. On an international level one of the most influential interpretations of this type was Charles Reichs’The Greening of America, published in 1970, which immediately topped the nonfiction bestseller list in the United States and constituted a kind of agenda that announced the world’s postmaterialistic renewal by means of a youth revolt.²...

    • Chapter 3 American Mass Culture and European Youth Culture
      (pp. 82-106)
      Rob Kroes

      In Europe’s lasting encounter with American mass culture, many have been the voices expressing a concern about its negative impact. Cultural guardians in Europe saw European standards of taste and cultural appreciation eroded by an American way that aimed at a mass market, elevating the lowest common denominator of mass preferences to the main vector of cultural production. This history of cultural anti-Americanism in Europe has a long pedigree. In its earlier manifestations, from the late 19thcentury through the 1950s, the critique of American mass culture was highly explicit and had to be. Many ominous trends of an evolving...

  6. Part II: Leisure Time and New Consumerism
    • Chapter 4 Music, Dissidence, Revolution, and Commerce: Youth Culture between Mainstream and Subculture
      (pp. 109-126)
      Peter Wicke

      Youth culture and pop music have long become synonymous, but this has not always been the case. In the year 1942, when the American sociologist Talcott Parsons coined the term “youth culture,”¹ music figured only marginally in its understanding. Instead, youth phenomena largely referred to points of view, attitudes, and common sets of values, which boiled down to a premature state of adulthood within the age-specific context of adolescents. The dynamic of their cultural behavior was characterized by their desires to appear as early on as possible as what adolescents understood as “adult,” in particular, to partake in their seniors’...

    • Chapter 5 The Triumph of English-Language Pop Music: West German Radio Programming
      (pp. 127-148)
      Konrad Dussel

      In hisAge of the Extremes, Eric Hobsbawm identifies the “emergence of a specific and extraordinarily powerful youth culture” as one of the central characteristics of a worldwide “cultural revolution” in the second half of the twentieth century. For him, the point of departure were the United States, whose “youth lifestyle was transmitted either directly or (as if by osmosis) through the intermediary of the United Kingdom.” Hobsbawm mentions various channels of transmission, such as youth tourism, the global network of universities, and the influence of fashion. However, first and foremost were “music records and, later, cassettes … whose most...

    • Chapter 6 Across the Border: West German Youth Travel to Western Europe
      (pp. 149-160)
      Axel Schildt

      Although youth tourism plays a central role in defining perceptions of the self and of the foreign, it has neither been thoroughly researched as an integral part of youth culture, nor as part of the burgeoning of mass tourism since the 1960s. Youth tourism was a new phenomenon, as can be inferred from the seminal works in pedagogy and sociology published between 1963 and 1970;¹ in Germany, the term “youth tourism” appeared in scholarly literature for the first time during the mid-1950s.² The following sketch, using West Germany as a case study, intends to highlight a single important topic within...

    • Chapter 7 Imperialism and Consumption: Two Tropes in West German Radicalism
      (pp. 161-172)
      Uta G. Poiger

      In November 1968, a few days after her conviction in the fire bombing of two Frankfurt department stores, Gudrun Ensslin made the following statement in a television interview:

      The people in our country and in America and in every West European country, they have to eat like animals, in order not to think about what we have to do for example with Vietnam […] Wonderful, I too like the cars, I too like all the things one can buy in department stores. But when one is compelled to buy them, in order to remain unconscious, then the price is too...

  7. Part III: Political Protest
    • Chapter 8 “Burn, ware-house, burn!” Modernity, Counterculture, and the Vietnam War in West Germany
      (pp. 175-202)
      Wilfried Mausbach

      When, in the spring of 1967, West Berlin’s notorious “drop out” group Kommune 1 (K1) adapted the rallying cry of African-American ghetto rioters from Watts to Detroit, their slightly crooked English hardly confused readers of their leaflet: the targets of their wrath were not warehouses but department stores, the shrines to consumerism. There is a certain irony in this. After all, one of the motives for poor blacks in America’s urban ghettos in setting cars and white-owned businesses ablaze was “to assert their unrequited plea for all the decencies and dignities possessed by other Americans.”¹ They rioted partly, then, to...

    • Chapter 9 Youth and the Antinuclear Power Movement in Denmark and West Germany
      (pp. 203-223)
      Henrik Kaare Nielsen

      A general characteristic of the modernization process in highly developed Western countries is that social praxis is differentiated in several respects. Thus, historically a number of relatively autonomous fields of praxis have arisen that have operated according to their own rationalities (politics, economy, art, etc.); also the life-world¹ of the population and the everyday cultural patterns of orientation belonging to it are in ongoing processes of change and segregation, creating new social and cultural relations between individuals and social groups and redistributing resources and life possibilities.

      In a life-world perspective, across these segregations of subpopulations and subcultures, modern individuals are...

    • Chapter 10 “Youth Enacts Society and Somebody Makes a Coup”: The Danish Student Movement between Political and Lifestyle Radicalism
      (pp. 224-238)
      Steven L.B. Jensen

      In August 1968 a group of 130 people from the Copenhagen student activist movement gathered for a week long retreat to discuss and plan the future directions of the movement. The movement had during the Spring—after successful actions by a large group of psychology students followed up by the broader activist movement—initiated widespread reform of how Danish universities were to be governed. Now the student movement needed to define a way forward in matters of university policy in a political environment that within a few short months had changed a stagnant reform agenda, in which the input from...

    • Chapter 11 A Struggle for Radical Change? Swedish Students in the 1960s
      (pp. 239-258)
      Thomas Etzemüller

      One can read a lot about the student protests of the 1960s in West Germany, Italy, France, the United States, or even Great Britain and the “Third World.” But astonishingly, some important—and well known!—countries are always missing: Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden.¹ One never reads anything about them—is it because there is nothing to report? Were the Scandinavian countries islands of peace within a sea of unrest? Had the Scandinavian Governments long since reformed society to true egalitarian democracies so nothing was left to protest against in 1968? To turn it the other way round: what is...

  8. Part IV: Gender Transformations
    • Chapter 12 Between Coitus and Commodification: Young West German Women and the Impact of the Pill
      (pp. 261-286)
      Dagmar Herzog

      The mass availability of birth control pills in the late 1960s coincided with at least three other dramatic developments in the history of sexuality: a thorough saturation of the visual landscape with nude and seminude images of women’s bodies and the unabashed marketing of a multitude of objects via these images; a liberalization of sexual mores and of the terms of debate surrounding sexuality so profound that it acquired the name “sexual revolution”; and the emergence and rise to cultural prominence of both a New Left movement and an incipient feminist movement, both of which, albeit in different ways, sought...

    • Chapter 13 Boy Trouble: French Pedophiliac Discourse of the 1970s
      (pp. 287-312)
      Julian Bourg

      On 28 January 2001, the British newspaper, theObserver, broke a story about a former 1960s radical turned Green Party delegate to the European Parliament.¹ Daniel Cohn-Bendit had first achieved prominence as a vocal figure in the French student/worker strikes of May 1968. Thirty-one years later he was elected to the Parliament in Strasbourg, representing France as a dedicated Europeanist. TheObserverarticle publicized remarks Cohn-Bendit had made in a 1975 book he wrote on education,The Big Madness, and then in a German countercultural magazine in August 1976. Working in an experimental children’s school set up by New Leftists,...

    • Chapter 14 “More than a dance hall, more a way of life”: Northern Soul, Masculinity and Working-class Culture in 1970s Britain
      (pp. 313-330)
      Barry Doyle

      The theme of this book is youth between politicization and consumerism at a pivotal moment in the social and political transformation of Europe. Most of the contributors have taken politics as the key element of this axis and have tended to focus on the often contradictory responses of middle-class youth to the perils and possibilities of a commercial popular culture and a new politics.² Notwithstanding Nick Thomas’ contributions to this area,³ in general British scholars have shown much less interest in the activities of middle-class youth than in those of young workers.⁴ However, for many of those studying British youth...

  9. Part V: Cultures, Countercultures, Subcultures
    • Chapter 15 Utopia and Disillusion: Shattered Hopes of the Copenhagen Counterculture
      (pp. 333-352)
      Thomas Ekman Jørgensen

      In the late 1960s, a small but visible group of young, extravagant, and exotic young people caught the attention of the media. They styled themselves as the carriers of a “counterculture,” a new way of living opposing the materialist, bourgeois values of the postwar years. Dressed in colorful garments, these self-appointed prophets of love, hedonism, and spontaneity for a short while seemed to embody the spirit of the times. Despite their short appearance, they left a lasting image in the collective memory of the 1960s.

      Unlike the many political groups of the 1960s and 1970s, the “countercultural” scene is difficult...

    • Chapter 16 Juvenile Left-wing Radicalism, Fringe Groups, and Anti-psychiatry in West Germany
      (pp. 353-375)
      Franz-Werner Kersting

      “If a cunningStaatsschützer[protector of the state, a member of an institution responsible for the security of the state and the defence of the constitution] had sought a means to paralyse the protest movement [in 1968], he would have been unable to find a way more efficient than the measures the movement inflicted upon itself: The ‘Proletarian Turn,’ the training courses, the Marx exegesis, the organizational debates, the foundation of parties. These were, despite the marches, the standstill of the movement, its ruin.”²

      The left-wing periodicalKursbuchvoiced this critical and ironic opinion in a retrospective view published in...

    • Chapter 17 The End of Certainties: Drug Consumption and Youth Delinquency in West Germany
      (pp. 376-398)
      Klaus Weinhauer

      During the summer of 1967, Fritz Bauer, a famous public prosecutor for a provincial court, inveighed against, as he put it “a West German nightmare,” stating that “a ghost is making its rounds in West Germany—the ghost of rising youth delinquency.”¹ In January of 1973, the news magazineDer Spiegelquoted the North Rhine-Westphalian minister of the interior Willi Weyer, who had said that juvenile delinquency² has “risen in an alarming way.” Moreover, in the same article the magazine reported an “over-proportional rise in violent crime” committed by young people.³ Looking for reasons why since the mid-1960s the threats...

  10. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 399-404)
  11. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 405-408)
  12. Index
    (pp. 409-424)