Workshop ... networks in the 1970s and 1980s

Workshop title: Western European Societies, Political Cultures and Grassroots Networks in the 1970s and 1980s


Investigating the long 1970s as a decade of societal and political rupture, protest movements and alternative milieus appear as some of its major agents. In their early heydays between ca. 1968 and 1985, new social movements developed not as much – like the workers movement – from conflicts at the workplace, but within the “sphere of reproduction”: housing, gender relations, everyday life. By articulating “post-materialist” values, they represented a superior change towards a “post-industrial” age in modern European societies. As agents of a participatory democracy, they also set new political topics on an extra-parliamentary agenda – such as nuclear power and NATO’s double track decision. Anti nuclear power and peace movements, squatters and the autonomous movement were partly rooted in a new social milieu – the alternative milieu –, but included also larger parts of the society, among others unions and established political parties.

Our workshop wants – not least from a comparative perspective – to investigate the impact of those movements and milieus on the political culture of European societies. We are particularly interested in:

  > their transnational connections;
  > their common grounds, national profiles and contradictions;
  > their long-term effects on European political culture.