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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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Conclusion 171

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Conclusion As the foregoing discussion has demonstrated, SLC does not tend simply towards ‘le juste milieu’ (happy medium) in the way that commentators have previously suggested. Moreover, it is difficult to accept Gosselin’s dismissive view of the magazine as childish, devoid of social interest, and focused on money and prestige. Offering a rich insight into a particularly turbulent period in French history, SLC is, to use Eoin Devereux’s terms, ‘structured as discourses’, which both support and challenge dominant ide- ologies relating to culture, the nation, youth and gender in France during the 1960s and 1970s. SLC views the cultural field, particularly mass culture, in problematic terms, incorporating elements of literary culture during the 1960s, and resisting commercialism, particularly in the popular music industry, during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The magazine maintains, although not with- out some hesitation, statist narratives of technological progress, particularly in relation to the popular-music industry. An ambivalent approach is also adopted towards popular-music genres. Rock in particular is viewed in both purist and hybrid terms. The magazine is, however, more unequivo- cal in its opposition to the state monopoly on broadcasting and in its call for greater liberalization of the airwaves. SLC maintains traditional unitary notions of national identity in French as well as other contexts. French national identity is largely rein- forced through representations of France as centralized and profonde, and as a significant player on the global popular-music stage, able to compete with the Anglophone world. French grandeur is supported through nega-...

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