Abstracts Revista Crítica 81 (2008)
Young people, students and “repúblicos”: student cultures and the crisis in associations at Coimbra University
This paper takes as its cue a brief reflection on the trends towards change in the youth and student universe (namely the current meaning of the social movements of the 1960s) and characterises the forms of sociability, the practices and the subjective orientations of Coimbra University students, endeavouring to relate past struggles and the memory of same to the challenges now facing civil participation and associations. Special emphasis is laid on aspects such as: the Academy’s festive and ritual tradition; attitudes and subjectivity towards social life; the role played by the Student Union and the importance of its activity; and participation in actions developed by associations and in public protest. Based on a set of data gathered by means of a representative survey of Coimbra University’s student universe, this paper discusses some recent trends in this field and analyzes the results, taking into account different segments of the student population, namely those residing in the so-called “Republics” and the female sector.
Some reflections on student movements of the 1960s and early 1970s
Barker considers the rise and decline of student movements in Europe and America during the 1960s and 1970s. Drawing on materials on student movements in a number of countries, it assesses their historical significance, in the context of a larger “protest wave” with which the student movements of the period intersected. Relating these movements to students’ changing position within advanced capitalism, it suggests that their dynamics were shaped both by the specific characteristics of students as political actors and by the patterns of their interrelations with other contemporaneous movements. The article concludes by noting more recent developments, suggesting that the story of student movements still offers interesting new possibilities.
Miguel Gómez Oliver
The Spanish student movement under the Franco regime (1965-1975)
The author sets out to characterize the Spanish University student movement during the 1960s and 1970s, viewing it as a fundamental instrument in creating spaces of freedom in Franco-ruled Spain, analyzing its organic development, its capacity for fostering the development of a culture of debate, and examining the role it played in the learning process of democratic practices which were later transplanted to other social and political environments, both during the final phase of affirmation of anti-Franco opposition and later, in the transition to democracy.
Awkward memories and time erasure: student movements and traditional student codes (“Praxe Académica”) in the declining years of the “New State”
Despite repeated evocations of the student struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, blanks and misunderstandings persist which lead to the presence of a too selective memory. This paper links the student movements of the time with the mutations which have since taken place in the field of Coimbra’s traditional student codes (“praxe académica”), highlighting how, over a period of some two decades, a new way of being and acting was constructed, creating a distance from the topics of Coimbra’s traditions and even a break with these. At the same time, this paper problematizes the image of a time of dissidence focused almost exclusively on the “1969 crisis”, drawing attention to a number of forgotten margins promoted by the association of the memory of student dissent in the “lengthy sixties” to that more noteworthy moment.
The University and the “New State”: From the regime’s “organic corporation” to the territory of social dissent
Álvaro Garrido is here relating the discourse of the “New State” on the University and on student association organisms (reproduction) to the strategies for survival and imagination of the student movement itself (dissent). As the starting point for an analysis of the student movements active between the end of World War II and the mid-1970s, the Garrido takes Salazarist stereotypes of the University as an “organic corporation” of the dictatorship and the legal matrix of student associations as “corporate unions” hindered from expressing any class connotations. He revisits previous discussions regarding the emergence of “student unionism” in the spring of 1962, endeavouring to ascertain by what means and for what reasons the University became a relevant stage for dissent against the regime, following the successive crises which the dictatorship had to face from 1958 onwards.
Nuno Miguel Augusto
Young people and politics: disinstitutionalization and individualization
Young people’s relation with the democratic system and, most especially, with conventional models for political participation, has been one of the basic concerns associated with the functioning and intergenerational sustainability of Western democracies. Often, responsibility has ultimately been laid on the shoulders of young people themselves, with a basis on criteria such as age, “irresponsibility” or “immaturity”, an explanation which has been subjected to rethinking over the past years as a result both of the crisis in representation and of the changes among young people. Following a line of analysis grounded on allocating mutual responsibility (that of young people and of political institutions), I endeavour to assess the extent to which Portuguese young people reflect these trends and what the main motives are for young people’s seeming disenchantment with politics. To this end I’ve crossed three basic dimensions – political mobilization, trust, and participation – with a view to ascertaining the extent to which more recent theoretical explanations may contribute to a sociologically more sustainable explanation for the (sparse) relation between young people and politics, and the democratic system.
Marcos Ribeiro Mesquita
Culture and politics: the experience of cultural collectives within the student movement
The topic of youth has been attracting increasing attention over the past years. Its visibility, to a large extent picked up by the media and the market, has also been reinforced by the activity of new youth movements such as young people on the periphery, other world militants, young migrants, among others, who have recently shown their vitality. The emergence of these new players also heightens the visibility of classic youth movements, among which the student movement, which has regained prominence by taking up once again its past discourse on politics and education, but which has also adapted to the new student endeavours and incorporates other themes linked to the areas of culture and identity. This article aims at analysing the participation of student militants in their interface with culture, with a view to understanding the implications of this dialogue in the re-articulation of the movement itself in regard to young people. I further analyze the repercussions which this relation brings to bear on the collective identity of a social movement – permanently under construction – which is increasingly concerned with diversifying its discourse and practice.