Representations of May ’68 in French Memory Essay

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Les événements (events) of 1968 are well imbedded in French society’s collective memory. There have been more than one hundred books published deliberating the meaning and significance of that year in France and many more discussions have taken place. It is without doubt difficult to understand what ’68 meant for many activists back then and even what is means to them today. Daniel A. Gordon, Robert Gildea and Bertram Gordon try to organize the varying thoughts and different perspectives on 1968 in their articles. Their divergent yet at times overlapping views put their articles under review due to the various available literature that shines light at the memories of ’68 in France from several angles.
The first article “Memories of May ’68: France’s Convenient Consensus” by Daniel A. Gordon, published in 2012, comes from the journal’s Modern & Contemporary France twentieth volume and second issue. In his short review of Memory of May ’68: France’s Convenient Consensus by Chris Reynolds, Daniel Gordon states that Reynolds’ has well proven that the memories of ’68 are reduced to just that one month (May) during which ‘children’ of the elite society lead a revolt against the political framework they were brought up in. The second article “Utopia and Conflict in the Oral Testimonies of French 1968 Activists” by Robert Gildea, published in 2013, is from the journal’s Memory Studies sixth volume and first publication. The material for this article came from the 2007-2011 pan-European project titled ‘Around 1968: Activism, Networks, Trajectories.’ In his published piece, Gildea brings together five interview of former activists in 1968 in France. These interviews then are explored through the shadow of two emerging narratives of cultu...

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... they all influenced a sentiment for activism and revolt. On the contrary, Daniel Gordon’s article does not mention anything about this phenomenon. But it should also be taken into consideration that this written piece is simply a book review and thus it does not incorporate all the analysis situated in Reynold’s Memories of May ’68: France’s Convenient Consensus.

Works Cited

Gildea, Robert (2008) “1968 in 2008”. History Today 58 (5).
Gildea, Robert (2013) “Utopia and Conflict in the Oral Testimonies of French 1968 Activists.” Memory Studies 6 (1): 37-52.
Gordon, Bertram (1998). ‘The Eyes of the Marcher: Paris, May 1968- Theory and its Consequences’ in DeGroot, G. J. (ed) Student protest: the sixties and after, p. 39-53. London: Longman.
Gordon, Daniel A. (2012) “Memories of May ’68: France’s Convenient Consensus.” Modern & Contemporary France 20 (2): 276-277.

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