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Red StrainsMusic and Communism Outside the Communist Bloc$
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Robert Adlington

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265390

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265390.001.0001

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Music, the Fête de l’Humanité, and Demographic Change in Post-War France

Music, the Fête de l’Humanité, and Demographic Change in Post-War France

(p.229) 16 Music, the Fête de l’Humanité, and Demographic Change in Post-War France
Red Strains

Eric Drott

British Academy

This chapter examines music's role in the Fête de l'Humanité, an annual festival organized by L'Humanité, the French Communist Party's principal organ. Beyond generating revenue and mobilizing support for the Party, the Fête has long served an important ritual function, fostering a sense of camaraderie among participants. Music has proven particularly effective in this regard, offering a medium through which one's membership in an imagined (communist) community could be experienced. The chapter focuses on the Fête's transformation during the 1960s and 1970s, a period that saw the Party struggle to broaden its electoral appeal beyond its working-class base. By expanding the range of musics featured at the event, its organizers sought to address an increasingly diverse electorate. Yet the Party's reliance on the Fête as an instrument of public outreach proved problematic, given that the image of inclusiveness it projected masked rather than resolved the Party's long-term demographic difficulties.

Keywords:   French Communist Party, Fête de l'Humanité, music

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