Contrasted views on May 1968: Statistical analysis versus life-stories

Special report: Observing mobilizations
By Julie Pagis

Based on a survey of former May-68 activists who enrolled their children in two experimental schools, this article examines the choice of appropriate methods to analyze the forms of participation in the events of May 68. A factorial analysis followed by classification reveals the wide diversity of profiles among the so-called "sixty-eighters" who took part, in different ways, in the same event. In a second stage, we confront the statistical classification with qualitative data in order not only to enrich the statistical classification but also to highlight its limits. Indeed, the classification cannot dissociate dispositional variables relative to life trajectories before May 68 from the situational variables relative to the political event itself. In conclusion, the combination of statistical data and findings from life-story interviews makes it possible to propose a classification combining the chronology of events and life trajectories. The latter are more attentive to the forms of political socialization generated by political events.


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