Unlike many partisan accounts of the nineteen sixties this book aims to give a considered explanation of the context in which the sixties radical movements arose and, also, their significance from the standpoint of various nations' actors, often ignored by North American and West European standpoints. Secondly, it examines how the radical decade sowed the seeds of various liberation or 'rights movements' initially in the West but also globally as movements became increasingly diffused. Contributors' varied international backgrounds and specialities provide expertise in examining the international context. Thirdly, many nineteen sixties' radicals' values and strategies recur in contemporary social movements; albeit in different technological and, post 9/11, political and cultural environments. Unravelling similarities and differences is a key theme. Fourthly, many participants in sixties radicalism saw it as 'cultural' as well as 'political' and in some historical treatments as primarily or 'only' cultural. Detailed examinations of this perspective involve critical discussion particularly in the light of the allegedly 'mere' (i.e. apolitical) cultural hedonism and escapism of youth in the nineteen eighties and nineties. Contrarily, the contributions here assess resonances between the radical/libertarian emphasis on civil society 'freedoms' in sixties' cultural radicalism and, arguably, today's more self-consciously political global human rights movement. The conclusion suggests that, in some senses, the sixties live on today in discursive and political themes.
Bryn Jones —
Bryn Jones is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Bath. Mike O'Donnell is currently Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Westminster.
Sixties radicalism and social movement activism: retreat or resurgence?, ed. by Bryn Jones and Mike O'Donnell. Anthem Press, 2010. 264p bibl indexes ISBN 1-84331-895-4; ISBN 9781843318958. Reviewed in 2011may CHOICE.
This essay collection by academics from across the globe offers an array of analyses about left-of-center movements of the sixties and their impact. The sweep is considerable, with examinations of Britain, 1968 France, the assault on Portugal's Estado Novo, black South African labor unions, 1968 Pakistan under the rule of General Ayub Khan, sixties movements in West Germany and the US, women's liberation, and sixties historiography. Particularly new ground is covered in Miguel Cardina's dissection of Portuguese liberation efforts, Helen Lunn's exploration of how South African activists drew from Sartre and the Paris barricades, and Riaz Ahmed Shaikh's look at the hopeful then aborted process of democratization in Pakistan. Interesting too are Eloise Harding's piece on the Situationists and James Driver's on Habermas's contorted relationship with student rebels. Jones and O'Donnell's own introductory essay and their review involving the legacy of sixties' movements contain interesting analyses and useful historiographical information. As is standard in a work of this cast, some of the articles are stronger than others, and a few are jargon-laden, but the overall effect is significant. Gaps naturally exist, particularly regarding Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
Summing Up: Recommended. General libraries and scholars. -- R. C. Cottrell, California State University, Chico