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'1968' - A catalyst of consumer society

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-274
Number of pages20
JournalCultural and Social History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011


The emergence of a new type of consumer society was catalysed rather than impeded by the tumultuous events of the late 1960s. The rebels of 1968 contributed considerably to the breaking down of conservative obstacles to consumption, to the opening up of new markets and to the creation of a new type of consumer. At its heart, '1968' was an intra-bourgeois confrontation pursued by an innovative minority. The many instances of personal transformation from protagonists of protest to pillars of the establishment can be interpreted in the context of communicative and consumerist modernization. The protesters' performative hedonism proved highly compatible with consumer culture. Protest culture, on the one hand, sought the publicity of consumer society as a spatial and moral sphere for its activities. The response of the 'system' to the protests, on the other hand, was surprisingly flexible and resulted in the further development of capitalism and consumer society in the late twentieth century.

    Research areas

  • 1968, capitalism, consumerism, France, Germany, new left, rebellion, revolution

ID: 80181494