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Younger Than That Now

The Politics of Age in the 1960s

Retrospectives of the 1960s routinely include the face of youth rebellion: long-haired students occupying campus buildings, young men burning draft cards, hippies dancing at Woodstock. In Younger Than That Now, Holly V. Scott explores how the idea of "youth" served as a tactic in the political and social activism of these years. In the early part of that decade, young white activists began to learn from the civil rights movement's defiance of racism. They examined their own lives and concluded that campus rules and the draft were repression as well. As a group, they were ripe for revolution, and their age gave them a unique perspective for understanding and protesting against injustice. In short, young people began to use their youth as a political strategy.

Some in the New Left were dubious of this strategy and asked how it might damage long-term progress. Young feminists and people of color were particularly quick to question the idea that age alone was enough to sustain a movement. And the media often presented young people as impulsive and naive, undermining their political legitimacy. In tracing how "youth" took on multiple meanings as the 1960s progressed, Scott demonstrates the power of this idea to both promote and hinder social change.

About the Author

Holly V. Scott holds a PhD in history from American University.

Reviews

"Addresses head on the function and meaning of youth and youth culture in the era."—Alexander Bloom, coeditor of Takin' It to the Streets: A Sixties Reader

"This is a timely and important topic and I was impressed by the range of archival materials that Scott uncovered. Her deep immersion in the field shines through very clearly."—John McMillian, author of Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America

"This interesting work focuses on the image of youth in the 1960s, pointing out that what began as participation by youth in social activism ended up as a debate on the role of youth in culture. Recommended."—Choice Reviews

"Scott's study represents an intriguing and creative reevaluation of the New Left's relationship with youth and youthfulness, and her unpacking of these concepts will be of particular interest..."—Timothy Cole, Journal for the History of Childhood and Youth
University of Massachusetts Press
Culture, Politics, and the Cold War

9781613764442 : younger-than-that-now-scott
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September 9, 2019
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