Professor Håkan Thörn: The Legacy of 1968 Continues … in Music & Politics


Håkan Thörn is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Gothenburg, coordinator for Forum for Research on Civil Society and Social Movements  and for Global Social Relations at the Centre for Globalization and Development. His research interests are concerned with globalization and social movements, and has written extensively on these topics: Anti-Apartheid and the Emergence of a Global Civil Society (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006); Climate Action in a Globalizing World: Comparative Perspectives on Environmental Movements in the Global North (co-edited); Urban Uprisings: Challenging Neoliberal Urbanism in Europe (co-edited); Transformations of the Swedish Welfare State: From Social Engineering to Governance? (co-edited) among others.


Is there a relations between music and politics? Yes. In his latest book, Håkan Thörn dissects and diagnoses the relation between music and politics in one year: 1968. The title of the book is ‘Revoltionens Rytmer’. He was one of the speakers on the topic ‘Talk is Cheap’ surrounding the theme ‘1968: The Rhythm of Revolution’ bringing politics, music and politics to the platform at Pustervik in June 2018, and supported by Västra Götaland region. Apart from Håkan, the guests were Nikke Strömthe musician and Ina Lundström the journalist.

Why 1968? Because ‘the 1968 revolt year went hand in hand with politics and music. Nina Simone, Jimi Hendrix, MC5, Joan Baez and James Brown are part of the political scene. At the same time they create some of the best songs and albums in music history’. The participants spoke answered – How did the music and politics hang together? What was unique with 1968? What can we learn from 1968 politically and artistically? The discussion was ‘calmer than a club, but livelier than a conversation at the library’.

Professor Håkan Thörn said the legacy of 1968 continues in the field of politics and music to this day from Brazil to Indonesia and in Sweden’s Sami people. In an interview to he talks about his latest book, politics, music and about the Swedish General Elections.

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