Children of the revolution? The counter-culture, the idea of childhood and the case of Schoolkids Oz

Strenae. 2018;13 DOI 10.4000/strenae.1808


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Strenae

ISSN: 2109-9081 (Online)

Publisher: Association Française de Recherche sur les Livres et les Objets Culturels de l’Enfance (AFRELOCE)

LCC Subject Category: Language and Literature: Literature (General) | Social Sciences

Country of publisher: France

Language of fulltext: French

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David Buckingham


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

On June 23rd 1971, a momentous trial began at London’s Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales. In the dock were three young men, Richard Neville, Jim Anderson and Felix Dennis, the editors of Oz, an “underground” magazine. They faced charges relating to issue 28 of the magazine, published in May of the previous year as Schoolkids Oz. The Oz Trial was the longest-ever obscenity trial in British legal history, lasting nearly six weeks, and it became one of the most notorious “show trials” of the British counter-culture. Yet while the trial focused in great detail on the parts of Schoolkids Oz that were deemed obscene, relatively little attention was paid – either at the time or subsequently – to the publication as a whole. At the invitation of its editors, Oz 28 had been produced (at least in part) by schoolchildren; and a good deal of the outrage that it provoked was to do with its affront to traditional notions of what was appropriate for children to see. As such, it raises some interesting questions about the place of “childhood” – that is, of ideas of childhood, rather than the experience of actual children – within the counter-culture of the time. This article explores some of the tensions and contradictions that were at stake in these ideas, firstly in general terms and subsequently in relation to the specific instance of Schoolkids Oz.