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The participants summarise their talks

  • Counterculture: an existencial utopia
    Román Gubern

    Counterculture implied a system of values and life styles completely opposite to the dominating culture, perceived as repressive and antihuman. A number of previous factors contributed to its formation, like existentialism, rock n' roll music, the juvenile suburban subcultures of the teddy boys and the mods, the literary generation of the beatniks, the experimentation with drugs (Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary), the underground press, and the critical though of the Frankfurt School transplanted to the United States (Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse). All of them reactive factors stimulated in addition by the provocation of the Vietnam War policies. 

    Counterculture had basically two facets. The apolitical trend represented by the hippie movement, stemming in 1966 from California, a neo-romantic modality starred by the "flower child" and conformed by hedonistic tribes settled in a polymorphic sexual freedom, the expansion of conscience through meditation and drugs, and the the autarkic economic subsistence. The hyper-politicized trend took shape in the universities, particularly Berkley and Paris in 1968, and combined ideologies so different as anarchism and Maoism, with the intention of a revolutionary conquer of power. Both trends produced a significant symbolic capital, in the shape of magazines, musical productions, theatrical plays, cinematography, billboards and comic books. And although it was no too long until they extinguished, they left in society a legacy of new sensibilities in the fields of psychiatry, environmentalism, feminism, sexology, and alternative unionism.

  • Paris 1968: power and imagination
    Francisco Fernández Buey
    The most famous slogan of the French May of 68, and probably the most repeated, read the following: Imagination to power. Everybody has heard this repeated many times as a symbol and summary of the Paris student revolt. After being repeated for hundreds of times, the sentence has been trivialized to the point that outside of its context, seems to suggest other things: hippies and provos, playful protest, environmentalism and pacifists. And yet, what the people writing it in the walls of the Sorbonne really wanted to say has little to do with pacifism, playful protests and environmentalism. With the aim of recovering the original sense of this famous sentence, I propose in this conference to make a historiographic reflexion about what was understood as power and imagination in the Paris of 1968.
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