The Long 1980s considers the significance of the 1980s for culture and society today. It revists this pivotal decade via a collection of microhistories from across Europe that span the fields of art, culture, and politics. Central to the stories in this book is the changing relationship between ideologies, governments, and their publics, the effects of which have come to shape the contemporary condition of Europe and beyond. Artists, writers, and activists were responding to and articulating these changes in myriad ways: in the streets, through words, images, objects, and actions. At the same time, new subjectivities were emerging at the intersection of race, class, gender, and sexuality, all voices that were demanding to be heard.
The publication is divided into four thematic chapters: 1. No Alternative? (on countercultures, alternative forms of self-organization and art as activism); 2. Know Your Rights (on civil liberties, the rising planetary consciousness and new ecologies); 3. Processes of Identification (on anti-colonial positions and the drive for sexual and gender equality through culture); 4. New Order (on the far-reaching effects of the neoliberal regime and, finally, the significance of the year 1989). Comprising newly commissioned essays by leading thinkers alongside seventy case studies, including images and archival material published for the first time, this reader offers an invaluable and alternative reading of the recent past.