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The Politics of Authenticity: Countercultures and Radical Movements across the Iron Curtain, 1968-1989

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Volume 25

Protest, Culture & Society

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The Politics of Authenticity

Countercultures and Radical Movements across the Iron Curtain, 1968-1989

Edited by Joachim C. Häberlen, Mark Keck-Szajbel, and Kate Mahoney
Afterword by Sara Blaylock

308 pages, 1 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-999-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 2018)

ISBN  978-1-78920-824-5 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Not Yet Published (November 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-000-3 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


The Politics of Authenticity raises a number of meaningful—and provocative—interpretive questions, which makes it valuable reading for students of postwar social movements and countercultures, as well as those seeking to understand the recent history of democratic cultures and political participation in Europe.” • Central European History

“This is one of the most distinctive and inspiring explorations of protest cultures that I have read in the last decade or so. While building on existing studies of social movements, it is original in its geographical breadth, diversity of topics and methodologies, and theoretical approach.” • Malgorzata Fidelis, University of Illinois at Chicago

“The innovative studies collected here contribute to important discussions within contemporary history. This book will be very useful for both undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as scholars in history, sociology, and other fields.” • Pascal Eitler, Max Planck Institute for Human Development


Following the convulsions of 1968, one element uniting many of the disparate social movements that arose across Europe was the pursuit of an elusive “authenticity” that could help activists to understand fundamental truths about themselves—their feelings, aspirations, sexualities, and disappointments. This volume offers a fascinating exploration of the politics of authenticity as they manifested themselves among such groups as Italian leftists, East German lesbian activists, and punks on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Together they show not only how authenticity came to define varied social contexts, but also how it helped to usher in the neoliberalism of a subsequent era.

Joachim C. Häberlen is Assistant Professor of Continental European History at the University of Warwick. He has previously coedited a theme issue on emotions in protest movements for Contemporary European History (2014) and published numerous articles.

Mark Keck-Szajbel is an Academic Research Fellow at the European University Viadrina. He received his doctorate in 2013 from the University of California, Berkeley for his dissertation on Eastern bloc tourism in the 1970s and 1980s. He was most recently a long-term research fellow at the German Historical Institute from 2015 to 2016.

Kate Mahoney is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Modern British History at the University of Essex. She completed her doctoral thesis on feminist mental health activism in late twentieth-century Britian at the University of Warwick in 2018. She has contributed to collections on researchers' emotions and the experiences of PhD students within the neoliberal academy.

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present Sociology History: 20th Century to Present
Area: Europe



Joachim C. Häberlen and Mark Keck-Szjabel

Chapter 1. Revolution as a Quest for an Authentic Life: The 1960s and 1970s in Italy
Angelo Ventrone

Chapter 2. Authenticity through Transgression: Small Acts of Resentment in Post-1968 Czechoslovakia
Barış Yörümez

Chapter 3. The Political, Emotional, and Therapeutic: Narratives of Consciousness-Raising and Authenticity in the English Women’s Liberation Movement
Kate Mahoney

Chapter 4. A Genealogy of a Politics of Subjectivity: Guy Hocquenghem, Homosexuality, and the Radical Left in Post-1968 France
Antoine Idier

Chapter 5. New Feminism, Women’s Subjectivity, and Feminist Politics: Conceptual Transfers and Activist Inspirations in Yugoslavia in the 1970s and 1980s
Zsófia Lóránd

Chapter 6. Women’s Bodies and Feminist Subjectivities in West Germany
Jane Freeland

Chapter 7. The Rise of a New Consciousness: Lesbian Activism in East Germany in the 1980s
Maria Bühner

Chapter 8. The Italian Movement of 1977 and the Cultural Praxis of the Youthful Proletariat
Danilo Mariscalco

Chapter 9. The Struggle for the Minds of the Youth: The Securitate and Musical Countercultures in Communist Romania
Manuela Marin

Chapter 10. Punk Authenticity: Difference across the Iron Curtain
Jeff Hayton

Chapter 11. Humanitarianism on Stage: Live Aid and the Origins of Humanitarian Pop Music
Benjamin Möckel

Chapter 12. Embedded Abstractions: Authenticity, Aura, and Abject Domesticity in Hamburg’s Hafenstraße
Jake P. Smith

Afterword: Concluding Thoughts: Authenticity’s Visual Turn
Sara Blaylock


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