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May '68 and Its Afterlives


May '68 and Its Afterlives Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

During May 1968, students and workers in France united in the biggest strike and the largest mass movement in French history. Protesting capitalism, American imperialism, and Gaullism, 9 million people from all walks of life, from shipbuilders to department store clerks, stopped working. The nation was paralyzed—no sector of the workplace was untouched. Yet, just thirty years later, the mainstream image of May '68 in France has become that of a mellow youth revolt, a cultural transformation stripped of its violence and profound sociopolitical implications.

Kristin Ross shows how the current official memory of May '68 came to serve a political agenda antithetical to the movement's aspirations. She examines the roles played by sociologists, repentant ex-student leaders, and the mainstream media in giving what was a political event a predominantly cultural and ethical meaning. Recovering the political language of May '68 through the tracts, pamphlets, and documentary film footage of the era, Ross reveals how the original movement, concerned above all with the question of equality, gained a new and counterfeit history, one that erased police violence and the deaths of participants, removed workers from the picture, and eliminated all traces of anti-Americanism, anti-imperialism, and the influences of Algeria and Vietnam. May '68 and Its Afterlives is especially timely given the rise of a new mass political movement opposing global capitalism, from labor strikes and anti-McDonald's protests in France to the demonstrations against the World Trade Organization in Seattle.

About the Author

Kristin Ross is professor of comparative literature at New York University. She is the author of The Emergence of Social Space: Rimbaud and the Paris Commune and Fast Cars, Clean Bodies: Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture.

Table of Contents


List of Abbreviations


1. The Police Conception of History

Sociology and the Police


Algerian France

2. Forms and Practices

The Critique of Specialization

"Vietnam Is in Our Factories"

Entering the Tigers Lair

The Illusions of Representation

3. Different Windows, Same Faces

Reprisals and Trials

Anti-Third-Worldism and Human Rights

Philosophers on Television

4. Consensus and Its Undoing



Product Details

Ross, Kristin
University of Chicago Press
General History
World History-General
Edition Description:
Series Volume:
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Professional and scholarly
9 x 6 x 1 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » European History General
History and Social Science » World History » France » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Zoology » Mammals

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