The 1970s were a watershed period for ideas about gender roles. This decade of political and cultural upheaval saw, as well as a vibrant feminist1 movement, the rise of the student movement, extra-parliamentary politics, trade union militancy and terrorism of both Left and Right. It was a time of creativity, energy, political passion and utopian dreams but also (eventually) bloody violence and, for most of the movements, defeat. In these years, détente destabilised the Cold War stalemate where Communists and Christian Democrats had faced each other in antagonistic symbiosis. Many Western countries saw upheaval in this period but the phenomenon was particularly prolonged in Italy, lasting until the late 1970s. It was also particularly violent: only Germany saw comparable levels of terrorist activity. As elsewhere, it was primarily the young who were involved. Previously, although some Italian teenagers and young adults had been politically active, they had not done so specifically as young persons.
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