Although Stalinist ideologues and artists highlighted the idea of “new socialist man” in the 1950s, and reform communist scholars critically explored the issues of consumerism and leisure under socialism in the 60s, it was a “consolidated” sociology after 1968 that made “socialist life style” a crucial research topic in social sciences and humanities. The research agenda was rigidly ideological, highlighting sharp dichotomies between socialist and capitalist societies while aiming to contribute to welfare and cultural policies of Czechoslovakia after the suppression of the Prague Spring.
In its very specific and normative way, this scholarship reflected also serious social and cultural contradictions threatening to undermine officially celebrated stability and prosperity of late socialist dictatorship. With its emphasizing of “openness” and reforms, Soviet perestroika posed a further challenge for the researches on “socialist life style.” In this presentation, Vítězslav Sommer will explore how “socialist life style” scholars in Czechoslovakia coped with social and political transformations of late socialism and, more generally, with far-going cultural and social transformations which affected both “Western” and “Eastern” Europe.
This event is sponosred by the Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies.