Next Tuesday, February 19, at 11:00 a.m., in the Sala de Juntas de Filosofía of the Building of the Faculty of Psychology, Lilian Mathieu, professor and researcher of the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, will take part in the Seminar Work in Progress FiloLab (TeC FiloLab) with a session on “Biographical consequences of political commitment in May 68: a comparison between Lyon and Paris”.
Lilian Mathieu will present some of the results of a collective investigation on the biographical consequences of the May 68 commitment, that is, how the more or less direct participation in the May 1968 revolt had an impact on the trajectories of the people involved. The hypothesis was that the exposure to an episode of such intense revolt had consequences on the subsequent political commitments of these people, but also on their professional and family life. The research was carried out in five French cities (Lille, Nantes, Rennes, Marseille and Lyon), studying more specifically three militant “families”: the trade unions, extreme left groups and feminism. Lilian Mathieu has worked specifically on the anarchists and the trotskyists of the city of Lyon.
The investigation consisted in the conducting of biographical interviews with former militants, but also in the reconstitution of the militant landscape before and after May of 68, to situate the individual trajectories in their context. For this, the investigators have relied on interviews, but above all, on a file investigation: mainly the archives of the intelligence service of the police and those of the militant organizations themselves.
Another challenge of the investigation consisted in reconstructing the May 68 event itself as it was lived by the subjects investigated. May of the 68 constitutes in France a very sensible issue from the point of view of the memory and the politics. It is often invoked by right-wing political personalities and by conservative intellectuals as the one responsible for all the evils that have haunted French society for 50 years. This invocation is based on a largely fantasized and erroneous representation of the event, which tends to be seen as both student and Parisian, reducing itself to an immature and irresponsible juvenile explosion. The challenge for historians and sociologists is to show that the event was a little broader and more complex, both socially and geographically. For this, Lilian Mathieu will comment mainly on the relations between the “Parisian May” and the “May of Lyon”, which was her main object of study.