Consumerism, Fifth republic, France, Gender, Juvenile delinquency, Mass media, Modernization, Popular culture, Popular music, Postwar france, Sexuality, Youth, YÃ© yÃ©
This thesis examines the popular yé-yé phenomenon and its role in articulating a vision of modern France in the aftermath of decolonization. Yé-yé, a teen-oriented and music-based popular culture that flourished from roughly 1962-1966, was in a unique position to define what it meant to be young in 1960s France. I argue that the yé-yé popular culture, through its definition of youth, provided an important cultural channel through which to articulate a modern French identity after the Algerian War (1954-1962). Using a combination of advertisements, articles, and sanitized depictions of teenage pop singers, the yé-yé popular culture constructed an idealized vision of adolescence that coupled a technologically-savvy and consumer-oriented outlook with a distinctly conservative, apolitical, and inclusive social stance. It reflected France's reorientation toward a particular technological and consumer modernity while simultaneously serving to obscure France's recent colonial past and the dubious legacy of imperialism. To contextualize yé-yé, this thesis begins by examining the blousons noirs (black jackets) and the societal anxieties that surrounded them in the early Fifth Republic (1958-1962). By tracking the abrupt shift from the blousons noirs to yé-yé in predominant media representations of youth, this thesis provides a unique vantage point with which to interpret dominant discourses of the Gaullist Fifth Republic and its attempt to reinvent France into a modernized and decolonized consumer republic. As the work suggests, it was not a coincidence that the optimistic yé-yé youth, unburdened by the tribulations of France's recent past, appeared in full force within months following the recognition of Algerian independence in 1962.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Fedorka, Drew, "Le Temps des Copains: Youth and the Making of Modern France in the Era of Decolonization, 1958-1968" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 74.