For 1968 to suddenly appear in a series of chapters on philosophers suggests that something of peculiar significance to European philosophy happened in that year of rioting, barricades, and political turmoil. The unprecedented wave of discontent which swept much of the world in 1968 was significant wherever it arose, but in France, where it nearly succeeded in destroying the state, the effects on the cultural and intellectual life of the country were enormous; so much so that only an impoverished understanding of recent European philosophy is possible without some sense of the atmosphere and themes of 1968. The debates about humanism and subjectivity, power and desire which inform the work of writers such as Foucault, Lyotard, Irigaray, Deleuze and Guattari are intimately entangled with the events of that year. While there are many other paths through which the philosophical significance of 1968 could be pursued, the trajectory through poststructuralist and psychoanalytic theory which these philosophers trace is perhaps the most interesting way of considering the impact of what is variously referred to as May ‘68, the May events, or just les événements, the events.


Capitalist Society Psychoanalytic Theory Social Revolution Symbolic Order Philosophical Reflection 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sadie Plant

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