chapter  3
18 Pages

May 1968

Towards the limits of self-emancipatory radicalism
WithDaniel Fletcher

This chapter focuses on how the diffuse self-emancipatory culture of the West was brought out into postmodernist being-with radicalism in France in the 1960s. It discusses that 1960s French radicalism has a special place in the mythos of contemporary left-libertarian movements. The chapter explores Bourg's re-evaluation of the legacy of May 1968 in some detail. It has been important to do this for two reasons. First, Bourg cuts through partisan interpretations of May 1968 on both the left and right, effectively drawing attention to its progressive democratic legacy. Second, by exploring the conflicts that arise at the meeting between liberalism and democracy, Bourg helps open up the debate on the contradictions at the heart of contemporary Western society. In championing the culture of democracy that was developed in the aftermath of May 1968, Bourg is keen to stress the particularity of the French experience.