The Age of Youth in Argentina: Culture, Politics, and Sexuality from Peraon to Videla

The Age of Youth in Argentina: Culture, Politics, and Sexuality from Peraon to Videla

The Age of Youth in Argentina: Culture, Politics, and Sexuality from Peraon to Videla

The Age of Youth in Argentina: Culture, Politics, and Sexuality from Peraon to Videla

Excerpt

In September 1966, the weekly magazine Confirmado published a long “report on youth” to explore whether or not a “unified youth consciousness and experience” had spread in Argentina like, the reporter posited, it had in postwar Europe. The answer was not conclusive. On the one hand, the reporter claimed that “only by fantasizing could one view a link between Rubén, twenty-five, a construction worker who migrated from Santiago del Estero to the Greater Buenos Aires area, and Ricardo, twentyone, an entrepreneur from downtown Buenos Aires.” Moreover, he found even fewer connections between them and Ana, seventeen, a secondary school student from the lower middle class. On the other hand, the reporter did find commonalities. First, although their choices differed, the interviewees showed a particular engagement with “young music idols” and were willing to “spend their money and time following them.” Second, while the construction worker had stated his “fondness toward Peronism,” and the entrepreneur his taste for “social democracy,” the reporter thought that young people held a similar “moderate and rational” attitude toward politics. Third, if there was one realm about which young people agreed (and diverged from their elders), it was sexuality: “they accept premarital sex without prejudices,” the reporter argued, “but they keep tying sex to love and marriage.” Only one among a myriad of reports the media ran throughout the 1960s, this one was unique in its interrogation of the category of youth (la juventud) by pointing out class and gender differences among young people (los y las jóvenes). As most reports did, however, this one also emphasized three key aspects that “youth” invoked and that young people helped transform in Argentina: culture, politics, and sexuality.

Youth as a category and young people as actors had at times a potent presence in Argentina’s politics and culture in the first half of the twentieth century. Argentina was the cradle of the University Reform Movement . . .

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