Mobilizing Youth: Communists and Catholics in Interwar France (Hardback)
  • Mobilizing Youth: Communists and Catholics in Interwar France (Hardback)
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Mobilizing Youth: Communists and Catholics in Interwar France (Hardback)

(author)
£90.00
Hardback 336 Pages / Published: 11/09/2009
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In Mobilizing Youth, Susan B. Whitney examines how youth moved to the forefront of French politics in the two decades following the First World War. In those years Communists and Catholics forged the most important youth movements in France. Focusing on the competing efforts of the two groups to mobilize the young and harness generational aspirations, Whitney traces the formative years of the Young Communists and the Young Christian Workers, including their female branches. She analyzes the ideologies of the movements, their major campaigns, their styles of political and religious engagement, and their approaches to male and female activism. As Whitney demonstrates, the recasting of gender roles lay at the heart of Catholic efforts and became crucial to Communist strategies in the mid-1930s.

Moving back and forth between the constantly shifting tactics devised to mobilize young people and the circumstances of their lives, Whitney gives special consideration to the context in which the youth movements operated and in which young people made choices. She traces the impact of the First World War on the young and on the formulation of generation-based political and religious identities, the role of work and leisure in young people's lives and political mobilization, the impact of the Depression, the importance of Soviet ideas and intervention in French Communist youth politics, and the state's attention to youth after the victory of France's Popular Front government in 1936. Mobilizing Youth concludes by inserting the era's youth activists and movements into the complicated events of the Second World War.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822345954
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 612 g
Dimensions: 236 x 157 x 23 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Mobilizing Youth offers an ambitious and imaginative look at two vital movements in interwar France, with a comparison that adds greatly to our understanding not just of French social and political history, but of the emergence of youth as an organized (and manipulated) force."-Peter N. Stearns, Provost, George Mason University
"In this fascinating book, the social history of French youth in the interwar years has finally found its historian. Susan B. Whitney's extensive and careful research in the archives of communist and Catholic youth movements introduces us to the critical issues at stake: competition for the allegiance of the young between communists and Catholics, the key role played by adults in shaping youth activism, the influence of the changing political scene in the 1920's and 30's, and the long-term effects membership had on those who joined up. Whitney is particularly astute in her analysis of the place of gender; she shows us how traditional notions of sexual difference were at once reinforced and changed in the experience of young Catholics and communists who participated in these movements."-Joan W. Scott, Institute for Advanced Study
"Susan Whitney has a fascinating story to tell, and she tells it very well. She weaves individual voices and stories throughout her narrative, giving a human face to the highly contested landscape of youth organization in interwar France. Her thickly described sociocultural history plunges the reader into the world of young workers (Catholics and Communists, male and female), and her superb analysis reminds us of the often brutal impact that the First World War had on the children who lived through it and grew up to become young workers in its immediate aftermath."-Laura Lee Downs, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

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