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Mixed Messages

Youth Magazine Discourse and Sociocultural Shifts in «Salut les copains» (1962–1976)

Christopher Tinker

While popular music and the mass media in France are firmly established areas of enquiry, there have been relatively few academic studies of the youth and popular music press. This book focuses on Salut les copains (Hi Buddies/Mates) (1962-76), which achieved a circulation of a million copies within its first year, at its peak sold around twice as many magazines as its nearest competitors, and has now become synonymous with the development of youth culture in 1960s France. In the few existing accounts of Salut les copains cultural commentators have tended to view the magazine as a neutral, apolitical vehicle for French yé-yé pop stars. However, this full-length study reveals how written texts in Salut les copains (editorial, letters and advertising) both supported and challenged dominant ideologies concerning culture, the nation, youth and gender during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s.

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Introduction 1

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1 and in certain clothing styles and in forms of behaviour that are expressed in the “buddies/mates” concept’ (Charon 2002: 23).28 In addition, SLC is classified by Pires as an example of la presse des idoles (idol press), already established in France by the magazine Disco Revue (1961–1964) (Pires 2003: 85): ‘titles devoted uniquely to the singing scene’, but ‘more interested in personalities than music itself ’ (Pires 2003: 78). While representing a substantial innovation within French magazine publishing, SLC may also be situated broadly in relation to a number of long-standing traditions in French magazine publishing: la presse des jeunes, ‘youth interest titles with a very wide remit, ranging from news to science and technology, history, and culture’ (Pires 2003: 78). Recognizing this ‘incomparable diversité et variété’ (Charon 2003: 224), Charon goes on to draw three main generic distinctions within the French youth press (‘la presse des jeunes’), which had arisen by the 1960s: the educational, civic and moral ‘presse éducative’, which stretches as far back as Le Journal d’éducation, founded in 1768; ‘la presse distractive’ (literally magazines designed to enter- tain and amuse),29 established at the start of the early twentieth century, notably the comic magazine; and ‘la presse “ados”’ (‘teen press’), of which SLC is a prime example (Charon 2002: 10–14; Charon 2003: 228). As Charon comments, in recent years there has been a significant amount of cross-fertilization at work between these three genres, which have increas- ingly influenced...

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