The Awakening of Political Consciousness

  • F. G. Friedmann
Chapter
Part of the Studies in Contemporary Europe book series

Abstract

In the liberal democracies of the West it is not yet possible to trace the transition from the so-called sceptical or silent generation to the period of radical political thought and action with any precision. One difficulty lies in the fact that the sociologists who speak of a ‘sceptical’ or ‘silent’ generation use primarily quantitative methods which are certainly applicable to a relatively inert and inarticulate group of people, while the political or cultural historians deal with a minority which claims, on the basis of a more highly developed awareness or consciousness, to be a historically significant elite — a term which defies any measurement or precise definition. It is possible, therefore, that the sociologist who trained his eye on the majority within a ‘generation’ overlooked an elite which, as far as overt actions were concerned, was not yet visible though already in the making. French existentialism — primarily the writings of Sartre and Camus — may, in its individualistic ways, have contributed to the earliest stirrings of the later upheavals.

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Copyright information

© F. G. Friedmann 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. G. Friedmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Amerika-InstitutUniversity of MunichGermany

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