When one generation hides another

Special report: Generational policy (ies)
Generational differentiations and reforming mobilizations in the French Province of the Dominican Order at the time of May 68.
By Yann Raison du Cleuziou

The crisis in the Catholic clergy in the 1960s-70s has been interpreted as a consequence of the generational differentiation of modes of socialization in the sacerdotal institution. This article reviews this interpretation and offers an analysis of the generational conflict not only as the outcome of a generational habitus struggle, but also as a specific arena of struggle erected by actors explicitly claiming generational interests. Indeed, a generation is not merely the product of a specific model of socialization, it is a social group built out of the discourse and practice of actors who seize this identification category for mobilization purposes. From the example of the Dominican Province of France, this article shows how the habitus of clergymen differentiated in the 1960s and 1970s, and how the Order would be plunged into crisis in the name of the “youth” by a generation of Dominicans acceding to leading positions and considering the May 68 uprising as an opportunity to implement the reforms they wished for.


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