Martti Muukkonen

Karl Polanyi and Youth Movements


Karl Polanyi, in his analysis of 19th century free market capitalism, argued for a "double movement" in market societies. He said that in making labour, land and money as a commodities, market society destroys the organisation of local societies. To prevent this, societies spontaneously give rise for counter-movements in order to defend social values.

This paper utilises Polanyi's theories in framing contemporary youth movements as this sort of counter-movements which aim to protect the society. However, it is acknowledged that along these political movements, there are also different kinds of "panem et circences"-type escapist youth movements which have turned their back to social problems.