The Brilliance of Dynamic Nodes: The Global ’68 in Two Movements

This paper explores the space between networks as they actually function and how these networks are then historicized.  First and foremost, networks are relations between people or objects through which goods, ideas, and information flow.  However, as recent developments in network theory have shown, our conceptions of how networks work may mislead us to erroneous conclusions.  This paper will look at the dynamic network which formed the foundation for the global revolutions and protests of the 1960’s.  I will show that the quality of this network allowed ample space for trans-national and trans-ideological dialogue on a global scale. This paper will argue that there were tangible channels by which global information moved and furthermore that these channels were of a certain quality which allowed a multitude of voices to be heard and, more importantly, to be heeded.  By conceptualizing the 1960’s as having a particular type of network I will be able to show that the subsequent representations of this era, both in historiographic and popular media, have obscured the truly global dimensions of this era.  This has occurred because certain “nodes” (May in Paris, Martin Luther King) have been separated from the links and connections which enabled their importance.  Overall, our picture of the 1960’s has been “blinded” by the brilliance of certain personalities and events which has occluded the deeper significance of the decade.