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The 1970s in France: A period of student retreat

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After the student turmoil of 1968–69, the seventies are characterized by an overall mood of retreat on the part of students. This can be explained by three main factors: (1) the institutionalization of politics within the university system which resulted from the 1968 Loi d'orientation which gave the minority willing to be politically active an opportunity of being so, while dissuading the majority; (2) as a consequence of the 1968 movement, universities are more diversified than they were prior to 1968 giving the students more choice. The increased diversity contributed to the substitution of the exit for the voice strategy; (3) in the seventies the returns from higher education decreased absolutely while they remained constant or increased relatively. This circumstance among others contributed to transforming the ideal-typical model of the full-time student into a new model of student economically active for a part of his time. As a result of these factors the conflicts of the seventies were of the corporalist-particularistic-materialistic type, contrasting with the cultural-universalistic conflicts which characterized the late sixties. In spite of the retreat, surveys show that a high proportion of students feel close to political ideologies weakly represented, if at all, in societal political institutions.

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Boudon, R. The 1970s in France: A period of student retreat. High Educ 8, 669–681 (1979).

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  • High Education
  • Political Institution
  • Political Ideology
  • Student Retreat
  • Late Sixty