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Humour as a Guerrilla Tactic: The West German Student Movement's Mockery of the Establishment

  • Simon Teune
Abstract

A small group within the German student movement of the 1960s expressed its critique of society in humorous protests that condensed the urge for a non-materialist, individualistic, and libertarian change. In the early phase of an emerging cycle of protest, Spassguerilla [fun guerrilla] contributed to shaping the face of the student movement, despite differences with the more traditional groups within that movement. In happenings, pamphlets, and judicial trials, humorous activists derided conventional ways of thinking and living. A responsive environment played a decisive role in shaping the image of the insurgents, thus reinforcing the impact of their actions and drawing in sympathizers.

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Copyright
Footnotes
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I am indebted to the research group, “Civil Society, Citizenship and Political Mobilization in Europe” at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (Social Science Research Center Berlin) for a lively and fruitful discussion of an earlier version of this paper. I would also like to thank Andrew Tompkins for applying his linguistic skills to the original manuscript.
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International Review of Social History
  • ISSN: 0020-8590
  • EISSN: 1469-512X
  • URL: /core/journals/international-review-of-social-history
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