The Use of Anger in Far-Left Political Organizations during the late 1960sBy Florence Johsua
This article examines a particular side of the logics that may have contributed to the broken allegiances to the established order that characterized critical social engagements in the 1968 era in France. Through the lens of a historically rooted sociology of commitment attentive to the protagonists’ emotions, the article analyses the role of anger and the desire for revenge felt by a particular fraction of the French post-war generation to shed light on the logics that gave way to their “communist revolutionary” affiliation. Personal histories, and particularly the vast presence within their ranks of persons from Jewish background whose families were directly affected by the genocide of the Second World War, was especially crucial. Based upon oral, written and iconographic sources, the paper studies the politicization process and the conditions that led to such commitment. The research demonstrates that the conversion of anger into agency is the result of a peculiar mix of embodied dispositions to anger and desire for retaliation, a context favourable to the externalization of the violence suffered by the group, and a politically organized structure.