May ’68 and the Politicization of Younger Generations in France Today

In France, the May ‘68 movement acts as an archetypal background and a kind of political myth of the specific ways in which younger generations were politicized at the time. More broadly, it also provides a key to understand the specific nature of French left-wing protest political culture. Nowadays, “Révolution 68” remains in the collective memory, serving as a reference point across the spectrum of social, cultural and political debate, whether there is agreement or disagreement with its spirit, goals, and consequences. Clearly, May ‘68 symbolizes an iconic form of contestation in French society from both an ideological (revolutionary) and concrete (political action) perspective and continues to divide the people and politicians of France.

This paper will discuss the dynamics of legacy and change through a process of intergenerational political socialization post-1968.


Anne Muxel is Senior CNRS Researcher based at the CEVIPOF at Sciences Po in Paris, France. She specializes in the study of political attitudes and behavior and has worked for many years on the phenomena involved in building political identities. She currently works on the relationships between young people and politics in France and beyond. Recently she has explored a new field of research focused on politics in private. Exploring family ties, couple-relationships, and friendship, using qualitative and quantitative surveys, she shows how much individuals are affectively related to politics. She has published many books and articles, in particular The New Voter in Western Europe: France and Beyond, with Bruno Cautrès (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and Politics in Private: Love and Convictions in the French Political Consciousness, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).