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Le mouvement de 1968 en Suisse: le militantisme comme raison d'être et mode de vie, 1965-1978

Applicant Batou Jean
Number 116187
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Institut d'histoire économique et sociale Université de Lausanne
Institution of higher education University of Lausanne - LA
Main discipline General history (without pre-and early history)
Start/End 01.10.2007 - 30.09.2010
Approved amount 154'392.00
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Keywords (11)

1968; nouvelle gauche; militantisme; “The Sixties”; 1968 protests; New Social Movements; New Left; prosopography; oral history; activism; Swiss history

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
This project aims at analysing, in a historical perspective, the impact in Switzerland of the protest cycle that is generally known as “The Sixties”. Based on the hypothesis of a long “critical moment” from 1968 to 1973/75, we consider this rupture as constituting a driving element for the creation of numerous organisations, new fields of political action and for the politicization of an important number of people.
Two objectives are at the heart of the project. On the one hand, we intend to take a census of the most active and influential members of the New Left and the New Social Movements from a biographical, sociological and typological point of view. On the other hand, we intend to analyse their experiences and impressions in terms of the meaning given to and their reassessment of the form and intention of their political activity.
By studying the evolution of activists using the approach of a “collective biography” as well as subjective historical experience, we will try to grasp the characteristics of “The Sixties”. This will allow us to measure the continuities with the preceding social movement, that is, to determine whether it has aggregated the resources of this anterior activist experience. We are equally interested in the Sixties Movement’s final phase and the crisis of the activist model that appeared as one of its consequences. More particularly, we will try to measure if its erosion was postponed by the success that the feminist movement and the ecological movement experienced in terms of mobilisation during the second half of the 1970s, a success which contributed to temporising the perception of the crisis. This will be an occasion to test our hypothesis that the movement of “The Sixties” was in reality made up of several political generations, which have partially succeeded one another. A central axis of our research will also consist of studying the articulation between the New Left and New Social Movements. Were the tensions that grew in the aftermath of different forms of activism that prevailed in the two types of organisations - concerning their relation to internal hierarchy and the sexual division of responsibilities between female and male activists - responsible for the crisis in the cognitive settings of activism that started around 1973?
More generally, it is important to measure the unitary dimension of the movement in Switzerland, by identifying common core values. This project will focus more specifically on the New Women’s Movement and on the international solidarity movement; the main methodological tools used being prosopography, oral history as well as archival research.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
129552 Die 68er Bewegung in der Schweiz : Politisches Engagement als Lebensinhalt und als Lebensform, 1965-1978 01.04.2010 Project funding