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Tag Archives: Youth Revolt

CSD BG D65/552



Date: 15 May 2014 to 17 May 2014

Location: IISH Amsterdam

Conference Organiser: Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis, Amsterdam / Institut für soziale Bewegungen, Bochum / Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg, Hamburg
Place: Amsterdam, International Institute of Social History

From 15-17 May 2014, a conference will be held on European youth revolts in 1980/81. We welcome papers and proposals for presentations (deadline: 1 June 2013) . The conference is organized by the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam / Institut für soziale Bewegungen, Bochum / Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg, Hamburg.

Place: Amsterdam, Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis
Deadline: June 1, 2013

Proposals for 25-minute-presentations consisting of a one-page abstract, a short CV and a list of publications should be sent to Knud Andresen [] and Bart van der Steen [] until June, 1th, 2013. Conference language is English. Publication of the proceedings is intended.


Sparked off by urban conflicts on youth centres and squatted houses, youth revolts unfolded in April/May 1980 in Amsterdam and Zurich, and soon spread to West-Berlin and other West-German cities. Simultaneously, cities such as Copenhagen and Vienna also witnessed a rise of confrontations between youth and the police, while in Great Britain so called ‘race riots’ broke out in more than thirty cities in the early summer of 1981.
This far from complete enumeration tends to lend weight to the impression that the second youth revolt – as it was often called at the time – was above all a Northern European phenomenon. Did other European countries also witness an upturn of youth protests in the early 1980s, which was not solely linked to house occupations and structural urban conflicts? Can specific patterns of youth protests be discerned, that rise above nationally focused discourses? Can we speak of an international protest attitude among young people in the early 1980s? These questions will be central at this conference, which aims at gaining a European perspective on the 1980/81 youth revolt as well as more in-depth insights into its specific aspects.


The question of how youth and social movements in the 1980s related to each other has not been answered yet. Were, for example, the conspicuous locality of youth movements and the rejection of theoretical analyses the result of activists’ negative experiences during the 1970s, or are we dealing with a generation that was not interested in history and wanted to create its own future? Similarly, the social composition of the youth movements is an issue that has not been researched in-depth. Were the protests mainly carried by deprived youth and students who had only enrolled formally but used the university not for educational purposes but as a laboratory for new life styles? Was the percentage of high school and working class youth significantly higher than during the protests in the late 1960s? Can the youth protests be explained as a side effect of a European wide development towards longer and more extensive education schemes or was the economic downturn and youth unemployment a primary cause for the protests?


The goal of the conference will be to achieve an overview of developments in Europe that moves beyond the descriptions of spectacular confrontations. We aim at embedding the youth revolt of 1980/1981 in a broader context of European post-war history. How can disparities be explained? Were the youth revolts mainly reactions to state repression and police violence, as was often claimed at the time? Or were the protesters’ motivations less specific and their actions more generally directed at a society which was deemed rigid and cold? With these questions we hope to uncover new traces, which may lead to a new understanding of the youth revolt. The revolts and (partly) new groups and scenes of the 1980s were connected to a radical form of subjectivity, which can be linked to more general social trends such as secularisation, individualisation, and pluralisation of life styles. This development can also be observed in the ‘differentiation of youth subcultures’ during the early 1980s, with the rise of punks, skinheads, teds, and mods as well as other youth counter cultures. Was this differentiation an international phenomenon?

The effects of the revolts need to be discussed as well. The autonomous movements and squatters of the 1980s can be seen as heirs of the 1980/1981 youth revolts, even though they remained a quantitatively marginal group already at their time. The revolts were also expressions of the search for new forms of socialization and small, manageable social spheres. How did those involved develop after 1980/81, and which effects can be observed nationally and trans-nationally? The ‘silent revolution’ thesis of Ronald Inglehart, which claims that the values held by youth created a path for societal development, can be countered by an interpretation that interprets the development of the protests mainly as a story of de-radicalization and adjustment. This raises the questions which aspects of the youth cultures were carried on and which were put aside.

Another field of interest are the political and societal reactions to youth’s unruliness. Did critical social scientists write sympathetic reports, partly based on their own experiences? Did their expertise and publications influence political decision making, or, for example, change the conduct of the police? How did politics and society react to these challenges?
The years 1980/81 are to be understood as the conference’s point of departure, not as a limitation. Up to now, few historical works have been published on the subject. The protests have traditionally been the topic of contemporary sociological studies on youth, focusing on the changes of values and attitudes amongst youth during the 1980s or on deviancy and confrontation. As the 1980s are now gaining importance as a topic of historical research, the conference should contribute to the historical analysis of the youth protest wave.

At the conference, we want to explore if 1980/81 was the accumulation point of a set of international developments or rather the outflow of local and national political opportunities, by paying attention to specific countries and systematic comparisons.


The contributions should be based on historical source material and embedded in a social-cultural history of post-war Europe. We especially welcome proposals that highlight the following four questions/perspectives:

  • Which events and social groups shaped and characterized the youth revolts of 1980/1981?
  • Which political programs were articulated or can be discerned? Did these build forth and/or were they taken up by other societal currents?
  • What were the political and societal reactions to the youth revolts?
  • How did these revolts influence or impact more general social developments, if at all?

Proposals for 25-minute-presentations consisting of a one-page abstract, a short CV and a list of publications should be sent to Knud Andresen [] and Bart van der Steen [] until June, 1th, 2013. Conference language is English. Publication of the proceedings is intended.


6 maart 2013





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Euro-Mediterranean Happening on Education, Welfare and New Political Practices
Rome, May 12th – 13th

In the last two years we have participated and assisted with extraordinary movements that have fought for a quality education, for labour rights and new welfare against the austerity politics of the European Union. The wild demonstrations, picket lines and strikes, the university occupations and the turmoil of theMediterranean signal a generational revolt and the necessity of a new social pact that involves all those subjects that stand up for their rights and refuse to be blackmailed.

The huge strikes last autumn inFranceshowed us the possibility of creating an intergenerational alliance, as blockades of production and circulation of goods constitute different aspects of a common struggle. InRome, as inLondon, the Book Block was a collective political practice able to speak out about the dismantling of public universities and processes of deskilling. At the same time, the revolts of Maghreb-Mashrek demonstrate how the construction of a future is tightly bound to both the radical claim for democracy and with the necessity of freedom from the parasitic and corrupt power that commands over our lives, universities, schools and workplaces.

The recent revolts and movements have crossed national and European borders as well as the limits imposed on education and mobility by Bologna Process to clash with the failure of a strategy we have always opposed. The struggles of these months have indicated that the possibility of radical change can only become concrete through the alliance among the different actors of labour and education, through common and transnational practices guided by those whom put their own bodies and knowledge.

We hope to give a common meaning to this new space redefined by the conflicts in which the crises open new possibilities to create an “other” future. It is for this reason that we want to initiate an open debate about the common projects we want to build together, starting in Romeon 12 and 13th May 2011.


[ Thursday 12th May ]
6 p.m. – Department of Philosophy, Villa Mirafiori

Opening workshop – with:
Mouhamed Ali Oueled Itaief Student of the “École des beaux-arts” in Tunis
Youad Ben Rejeb Université Femministe
Trifi Bassem Forum des jeunes pour la citoyenneté et la créativité (FJCC)
Mondher Abidi Union Diplomées Chomeurs
Wissem Sghaier UGET Union General Etudiant Tunisi
Tim Uncut UK
Maham Hashni SOAS
Mark Bergfeld Education Activist Network
Rita Maestre Fernandez Juventud sin futuro

Annalisa Cannito AgMigrationUndAntirassismus
Tatiana Kai- Browne Plattform Geschichtspolitik

7 p.m.

Aperitive – Global video session #1
Contributions from education revolt – Book Bloc videos and photos

[ Friday 13th May ]

10 a.m. – Department of Political Science, University “La Sapienza”
Conflictual knowledge: from Europe to Mediterranean area

3 p.m. – Department of Literature, University “La Sapienza”
Education, Welfare and Precariousness

5 p.m. – Department of Literature, University “La Sapienza”
Labour, income and democracy against the crisis
With Fiom’ general secretary Maurizio Landini and members of tunisian General Union UGTT.

8 p.m. – ESC (via dei Volsci, 159)

Global video session #2

Contributions and interviews from Maghreb – Mashrek’ revolts

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Paolo Virno


Friday 18 March,
6pm GMT/ 7pm CET/ 1pm EST

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::2011 Research Event::
The Virtue of Turmoil: the Revolt between Exodus and Revolution

In full swing of the systemic crisis of global capitalism, the debate among radical transformations is a living one. In fact, on the one hand the financial capitalism and transnational corporations do not accept any form of regulation and consider the crisis to be a structural condition to be viewed as part of the contemporary production of value. On the other hand, the parabola of Obama indicates that reformism has come to halt and neo-Keynesian receipts are blunt weapons. This situation causes a rise in social tension, above all in the old continent, where deflationist policies dragged by Central Bank and Germany hit with more harshness. For about one year now on both sides of the Mediterranean turmoil has been spreading. The protagonists of these movements are the young, students, precarious and migrants. This turmoil indicates a powerful resistance to austerity and raises the question concerning the project of transformation: what is the goal of metropolitan riot? Is the no-future issue enough to explain the passions and the discord that animate the revolts that are taking place from Rome to London, from Athens to Tunis, from Paris to Cairo?

The aim of the LUM cycle of seminars is to deal with these questions, starting from the assumption that the events of the last months have opened a new space of possibility, a space that must not be limited to the cheering narration of the “burned generation”, a generation that rebels against its parents. There is undoubtedly a gap in the future, a lack of job prospects as well as an existential void. There is however also a search for a new kind of politics, for a new way to qualify the transformation that is taking place in the revolts carried out by students and by the young. It is something that urgently questions life and language, social relations and knowledge, the line of colour and sexual difference.

But how can we articulate this research with the revolutionary theory and praxis that we have known and that has taken shape over the past two centuries? Does the desire to gain a monopoly on political decision, the state, lurk among the tumult that penetrates European markets? Does the violent breakthrough differ from the everyday construction of meaning that aims at creating new political institutions? Does the concept of exodus – on which critical thinking has focused on several occasions during the last years – take full account of the unprecedented relationship among turmoil and constitutional praxis?

In order to answer these questions the LUM cycle of seminars sets two goals:

a) To qualify a theoretical and political conceptual constellation able to deal with contemporary change: we will do this through a critical review of texts and political materials that have most informed the debate of movements over the past twenty years.

b) To focus the attention on some revolutionary historical events of the last two centuries, to trace the irreducible discontinuities concerning the present and also, on the contrary, the problematic knots that the great revolutionary experiences have exhibited and that still today remain unresolved.

Seminar Program: [All events will start at 6pm GTM]

1. Actuality of the Revolt (from Europe to the Maghreb, and Egypt) – Augusto Illuminati (Friday, 18th February)

2. On the Concept of Turmoil (in Machiavelli) – Gabriele Pedullà (Friday 4th March)

3. The Turmoil and the Theory of the Exodus – Paolo Virno (Friday 18th March)

4. The Revolution in Europe from 1848 to the Commons (through the political writings of Marx) – Paolo Vinci (Tuesday, 1st April)

5. Jacqueries and Political Institutions – Marco Bascetta (Friday 15th April)

6. 1968 and the Politics of Difference (through the political writings of Carla Lonzi) – Federica Giardini (Wednesday, 29th April)

7. “War Machine” and the Multitude – Francesco Raparelli and Alberto De Nicola (Friday 13th May)

8. Haiti and the Black Jacobins – Fred Moten and Laura Harris (Friday 20th May)


LUM (Libera Università Metropolitana)
Il tumulto e la teoria dell’esodo – Paolo Virno

Venerdì 18 marzo, ore 17
Presso Esc, atelier autogestito (via dei Volsci 159 – Roma)
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