The Utopian years? Radical Left Movements in Pompidou's France

Date: 11 May, 2011
Location: Room 2.09, Park Building, University of Portsmouth
Event type: Conference (half day)

Location map

Event timings : 13.00 - 17.00

The conference traces the trajectories of the movements that emerged in early 1970s France, helping define the radical politics of the era. The utopian dimension of May ’68, embodied in slogans such as Sous les pavés la plage, Prenez vos désirs pour réalité, and Jouissez sans entraves, allied to its collective drive to transform society, was a powerful spur to thousands of young activists. Despite continuing conservatism, indeed repression in the early 1970s under Gaullist heir Georges Pompidou, new gender & sexual liberation movements, independent immigrant organisation, ecology groups and a parallel press emerged alongside students, workers and leftist groups, seeking to merge political radicalism with the cultural underground: changer la vie. What became of this grassroots surge for change?

Drawing on the papers of five academics that each explore individual aspects of this radicalism, our conference both celebrates new and recent research, and integrates a programme of contemporary French history teaching:

Dr. Manus McGrogan, University of Portsmouth
L’Imagination au pouvoir: Radical left press in the aftermath of May ‘68
Fanny Bugnon (PhD), Universite d’Angers
"Power at the end of a gun": The emergence of armed struggle from the French leftist underground of the 1970s
Dr. Chris Warne, University of Sussex
(Mis)reading youth activism in 1970s France: The case of the students against la loi Debré 1972-73
Dr. Bibia Pavard, Université de Paris Sciences-Po
State, media and movement: Feminists and the fight for free abortion and contraception in Pompidou’s France
Dr. Daniel Gordon, Edgehill University
Immigrants and Intellectuals: The Rise of Anti-Racism, 1971-1974

Please contact Manus McGrogan or Emmanuel Godin , if you would like to attend and for more information please go to :

This event is sponsored by the Subject Centre's guest speaker fund.


  • There is no charge to attend this event for PhD and other students.
  • There is a charge of £10 for lecturers, academics and other non-students to attend this event.

Travel bursary

Travel bursaries are not available for this event.