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A Revolution of Perception?

A Revolution of Perception?: Consequences and Echoes of 1968

Edited by Ingrid Gilcher-Holtey
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    A Revolution of Perception?
    Book Description:

    The year "1968" marked the climax of protests that simultaneously captured most industrialized Western countries. The protesters challenged the institutions of Western democracies, confronting powerful, established parties and groups with an opposing force and public presence that negated tra­ditional structures of institutional authority and criticized the basic assump­tions of the post-war order. Exploring the effects the protest movement of 1968 had on the political, social, and symbolic order of the societies they called into question, this volume focuses on the consequences and echoes of 1968 from different perspectives, including history, sociology, and linguistics.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-380-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)
    Ingrid Gilcher-Holtey

    ‘1968 is a date in which the imaginary has nested’, wrote the German poet and playwright Hans Magnus Enzensberger in his diary. He was not able to describe in one term what happened in this year, or even to make sense of it. ‘The forbidden sentences march in the streets’, so it seemed to him; ‘two thousand, twenty thousand, two hundred and twenty thousand words, protest marches, resolutions’. Accompanied by ‘power struggles’, ‘rumours’, ‘feverish expectations’ and ‘fundamental wishes’, they produced a ‘raging movement’ for him,¹ as the only way to deal with ‘1968’.² Ten years later, reminiscing, he found his...

  5. I. Re-linking Europe and the ‘Third World’

    • 1 Rethinking the Writer’s Role: Enzensberger and Cuba – or A Story of Self-Censorship
      (pp. 17-34)
      Henning Marmulla

      This is the story of a book that has never been written – or perhaps of a book that has never been published; a book sleeping in a cellar somewhere in Munich, waiting to be discovered by a historian or literature specialist who will bring it back to life from a forty-year dream. This is the story of a book that Hans Magnus Enzensberger intended to write about Cuba – not a book in the form of a theatre play reconstructing an interrogation;¹ not a book in the form of a poem picturing the decline of Cuba, the decline of...

    • 2 Global Dimensions of Conflict and Cooperation: Public Protest and the Quest for Transnational Solidarity in Britain, 1968–1973
      (pp. 35-68)
      Steffen Bruendel

      With this programmatic statement a new radical newspaper was launched in March 1970. NamedThe Red Mole, it was to be the internationalist voice of dissent in the aftermath of the protest movement which Britain had faced since 1967. The paper followed its predecessorThe Black Dwarf, which had come into existence in the heydays of protest in early summer 1968. With a circulation of sometimes up to fifty thousand copies, both papers were important representatives of alternative media in Britain between 1968 and 1973. However, apart from a few references and sporadic quotations of front-page slogans,² neither paper has...

    • 3 Letters from Amman: Dieter Kunzelmann and the Origins of German Anti-Zionism during the Late 1960s
      (pp. 69-88)
      Aribert Reimann

      The role of internationalism in the transformation of oppositional protest during the 1960s hardly needs to be emphasized any further. Collective memory as well as picture archives of the late 1960s are dominated by icons of international revolutionary movements and their leaders, and the self-image of the protest generation has always been one of exceptional international awareness and worldwide oppositional networking. In this sense, the protest movements across the globe since the 1960s can be regarded as a prime example of a revolution of perceptions in political as well as social and cultural terms, sometimes compared to the ‘peoples’ spring’...

  6. II. Re-orienting Visions and Classifications

    • 4 Politically Relevant or ‘Carnival’? Echoes of ‘1968’ in German Public Broadcasting
      (pp. 91-105)
      Meike Vogel

      In the 1960s, the importance of television as a medium of information experienced a tremendous rise in West Germany. Therefore it seems only logical to relate the activities of the protest movement, which culminated in 1968 and generated considerable media attention, to a growing importance of television at that time. The existence of a link between television and the 1968 movement was recognized by many participants in these events, not only at the time of their occurrence but also in retrospect. It was also reflected in academic literature devoted to this topic. Hence, it could be claimed that, apart from...

    • 5 The Transnational Dimension of German Left-Wing Terrorism in the 1970s: The View from Italy
      (pp. 106-123)
      Petra Terhoeven

      During the 1960s, within the parliamentary democracies of Western Europe, ‘new social movements’ (NSMs) began to develop. They had common roots and shared points of reference while at the same time having distinct national features, as recent scholarship has increasingly pointed out.¹ Leaving aside these national peculiarities, probably the most important thing the movements in question had in common was their massive distrust of, and scepticism towards, Western-style parliamentary democracies. The new social movements harshly criticized them from an anti-authoritarian and libertarian socialist perspective. Their discontent with the status quo – often more emotionally than intellectually based – was accompanied...

    • 6 Feminist Echoes of 1968: Women’s Movements in Europe and the United States
      (pp. 124-147)
      Kristina Schulz

      What was the legacy of ‘1968’ with regard to gender relations? Was it a turning point in the history of gender roles and gender identity in the Western world? If so, does this turn support the idea of 1968 as a ‘revolution of perception’? This is the main question of this chapter. There are a variety of perspectives on the legacy of 1968 as to gender relations. Whereas some commentators insist on the influence of 1968, others deny the catalytic effect of the protest wave in this area.¹ Such divergent accounts result from different ideological standpoints but may also reflect...

    • 7 The Politics of Cultural Studies: The New Left and the Cultural Turn in the Social Sciences and Humanities
      (pp. 148-161)
      Rainer Winter

      The issue I am addressing is the significance of 1968 to Cultural Studies, which arose from the New Left and which contributed decisively to the cultural turn in social sciences in recent decades. Its successful institutionalization as a transdisciplinary research centre in Birmingham in the 1970s came about in the context of 1968 and its aftermath. This centre critically investigated social and political problems in order to show the possibility of social critique, of empowerment, of social transformation and of the processes of radical democratization. Therefore I will also deal with the (after-)effects of 1968 in the social science debate...

    • 8 Revolution in a Word: A Communicative History of Discussion in the German 1968 Protest Movement
      (pp. 162-183)
      Joachim Scharloth

      Every revolution aims for more than just political changes. Instead, it cuts deep into the rituals of everyday life and seeks to alter everyday forms of interaction. Revolutions turn not only against the ruling class but also against its symbolic practices. The 1968 movement also sought radical change in the conditions of the German Federal Republic. It sympathized with the Cultural Revolution initiated in China by Mao and his Red Guards. Instead of taking violent action against those individuals with power and institutions, activists attacked those rituals in which societal power relations were, in their opinion, at once reflected and...

  7. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 184-186)
  8. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 187-198)
  9. Index
    (pp. 199-208)