A European Youth Revolt 1980/81? European Perspectives of Youth Protest and Social Movements
Organiser: Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis, Amsterdam / Institut für soziale Bewegungen, Bochum / Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg, Hamburg
Sparked off by urban conflicts at youth centres and squatted houses, youth revolts unfolded in April/May 1980 in Amsterdam and Zurich, soon spreading to West Berlin and other West-German cities. Simultaneously, cities such as Copenhagen and Vienna also witnessed a rise in confrontations between young people and the police, while in Great Britain so-called ‘race riots’ broke out in more than thirty cities in the early summer of 1981. Did other European countries also witness an upturn of youth protests in the early 1980s? Was there such a thing as 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. Can the youth protests be explained as the 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 the most eye-catching confrontations. The revolts and (to some extent) new groups and scenes of the 1980s were connected to a new, radical form of subjectivity, which can be linked to more general social trends such as secularisation, individualisation and pluralisation of life styles.
Conference language is English. Publication of the proceedings is intended.