An Australian Perspective on Occitan and Breton Ethnoregionalism in the Post-war Period to 1981

Author: EDOARDO BRUNETTI
The French Australian Review 73 (Australian Summer 2022-2023): 90-115

In France, the student occupations and strikes of May ’68 are well known, but the period was also of immense significance to the country’s ethnoregionalist movements, who sought to increase power and self-determination. From a period of rebuilding following the Second World War, the Breton and Occitan movements, which campaigned against the perceived oppression of their regions by the central French state, were able to find new audiences and grow significantly in the 1960s and 1970s. Through an analysis of primary and secondary sources, this article charts the history of the movements throughout the era, demonstrating how the growth of the movements was linked to the broader societal politicisation of the era. As the period of radicalism waned, so did the Breton and Occitan movements, which saw many of their key demands implemented following the election of François Mitterrand as President, depriving the movements of their key reasons for existence. Nevertheless, the movements left a significant legacy in this period, through both the acceptance of regionalist political demands by the national left, and the ideological refoundation of Breton and Occitan ethnoregionalism. The author reflects on how these movements have some parallels in Australian history.

Keywords: Brittany, Occitania, ethnoregionalism, Occitanism, Emsav, regionalism, nationalism.

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