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Published: 13. 7. 2012

The Reform Generation: 1960s Czechoslovak sociology from a comparative perspective

Michael Voříšek

The book offers an insight into the sudden rise of Marxist sociology in 1960s Czechoslovakia, followed by a no less sudden disappearance of this particular kind of sociology after the Soviet and allied invasion of August 1968. It does so by comparing the Czechoslovak developments with those in other countries of Soviet Bloc in Europe - especially Poland, Romania, Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia, but also others - and to a limited degree also elsewhere in Europe. In Czechoslovakia, it focuses on a cohort of Marxist scholars who dominated the discipline, being in their forties in the 1960s: the 'Reform Generation', intimately connected to the reformist wing of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. The topics covered by the book's chapters include relationship with the local sociological tradition; the conflict between Stalinism and sociology in Soviet Europe after World War II; ideological discussions about the relationship between historical materialism and sociology that accompanied the establishment of Marxist sociology as an autonomous science; applied research in sociology as a way of relating to the society; and relationship between the scientists who were organizing the new discipline and the Communist Party headquarters.

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