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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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Chapter Three

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Youth While existing accounts of SLC highlight the ‘rapport’ that the magazine fostered between music artists and young readers, the representation of youth in the magazine was in fact much more extensive, if not complex. The mixed, even contradictory, discourses concerning youth within the pages of SLC are particularly evident when they are viewed in relation to the official, academic and media discourses that were well established by the 1960s. These tended to view young people as forming a discrete, unitary, homogeneous category, regarded them either as ‘fun’ on the one hand or as ‘trouble’ on the other, to use Dick Hebdige’s terms (Hebdige 1988: 19, qtd in Osgerby 2004: 61), and identified adolescence as a period of potential psychological upheaval. Unitary or Plural Youth? For the most part, SLC identifies youth broadly, to use Bill Osgerby’s terms, as a ‘homogeneous social group distinct from wider “adult” society’ (1998: 27). In both Anglophone and Francophone commentaries, such a collec- tive conception of youth can been traced back to the bio-psychological studies of youth by Granville Stanley Hall (1904) (see Osgerby 1998: 27 and Ottavi 2006: 14). In the very first issue of SLC, the founding editor Daniel Filipacchi explicitly identifies a distinct youth class that benefits 96 Chapter Three from its own niche media.1 Furthermore, according to a January 1966 article by Jean-Marc Pascal, the popular-music stars that feature in SLC such as Johnny Hallyday, Sylvie Vartan and Sheila both epitomize and raise awareness of this distinct youth class not...

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