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.
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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.