When students in Paris erupted into concerted protest in May 1968, there were many who thought that the next stage of global revolution -- a long arc, beginning in 1789 -- had finally come about.

The May uprisings had started over housing issues at Paris VIII University in Nanterre, the Monash/Macquarie/Flinders of the system, stuffed with students who couldn’t make it into the best schools, and those who could but disdain the trappings of ancient power in central Paris. What began as a protest over prudish dorm arrangements, quickly became a protest against rigid systems of power, that had been left unmodified for decades, even as social life changed beneath them. That, in turn, became something else entirely: a protest against the regime of the mundane, of everyday life, the routine of work, school, commodified leisure.