'You say you want a revolution?': the socio-cultural sensibilities of the Hornsey College of Art Revolution and British Student Protest, 1968

Fabian, Luke H. K. (2012) 'You say you want a revolution?': the socio-cultural sensibilities of the Hornsey College of Art Revolution and British Student Protest, 1968. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    In 1968 students from all over the globe championed transformative social values and ideals to challenge established cultures of elitist authority and control. Consequentially modern historiography characterises these upheavals as a collective, ‘global revolution’. The British ’68 is to a large extent excluded from such accounts. This study will argue that within its domestic context Britain should govern greater historical attention. If we value the motivations and intentions behind student resistance as relative and responsive to the national context from which they arose, a new socio-cultural avenue of historical inquiry becomes available. This shift in emphasis allows debates concerning the ‘revolutionary’ and ‘radical’ nature of British student protest, as well as Britain’s place in histories of ‘1968’ to be re-ignited.

    The Hornsey College of Art in North London during 1968 will be examined through the rebellious voice of its students’ contained within ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ documents produced during the occupation. The radical nature of the Hornsey students’ demands for educational change, and the transformative personal effects of the sit-in, will be considered to argue that Hornsey was as a ‘revolution’ of a socio-cultural nature. Contemporary perceptions and reactions to Hornsey help explain its currently underrepresented historiographical position. Demands for increased social equality and radical forms of cultural resistance can be seen in any country where student revolt took place, so Britain should not be excluded from international accounts of 1968.

    This dissertation illuminates how the revolutionary motivations and intentions behind a notable instance of British student protest encapsulated the larger post-war evolution in the social position and cultural mentalities of British adolescents. Moreover, we can see how the Hornsey students were as radical as their contemporary continental cohorts when viewed on their own terms. British students truly were part of the transnational cultural liberation and psychological emancipation of youth. The Hornsey sit-in has continuing relevance to the scholars of ‘global ‘68’, subcultural youth resistance and cultures of extra-parliamentary protest.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 30 May 2012 14:56
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:02
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/8113

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