Miloslav Petrusek and the Samizdat Sociologický obzor: (New) Insight into a Sociological Thinker  Cover Image

Miloslav Petrusek ve světle své publikační činnosti v samizdatovém Sociologickém obzoru
Miloslav Petrusek and the Samizdat Sociologický obzor: (New) Insight into a Sociological Thinker

Author(s): Zdeněk R. Nešpor
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Sociologický ústav AV ČR, v.v.i.
Keywords: Miloslav Petrusek; Czech sociology; Marxist sociology; history of sociology; communist regime

Summary/Abstract: The late Miloslav Petrusek (1936–2012) was undoubtedly one of the most important figures in the history of Czech sociology. He was one of a few sociologists who revived the discipline in the 1960s and was a talented organiser and a co-founder of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University in the 1990s. He was also a gifted teacher. However, owing to his busy organisational role, extensive teaching activities, and the publishing ban and restrictions he was subject to during the communist era, it is difficult to define the ‘real Petrusek’ in terms of his sociological thinking. The author argues that insight into his thought can, paradoxically, be found in the work he did during the most restricted period of his life, i.e. in the late 1980s, when Petrusek and his colleague Josef Alan published Sociologický obzor (Sociological Horizon), probably the only samizdat sociological journal in the world (1987–1989). In this journal Petrusek was not bound by external restrictions or his various other activities and he proved to be a particularly original analyst and thinker. He defined an ‘alternative sociology’, which was based primarily on the sociological analysis of literature and the performing arts as well as on his own profound knowledge of classical and contemporary sociology, which allowed him to shed light on a range of pressing contemporary social issues such as gender relations, the social perception of time and progress, the dissemination and dissolution of higher education, social stratification, and the approaching post-communist era. Petrusek contributed 83 different and, in the main, highly valued texts to Sociologický obzor that often drew attention to the crucial social issues of late modernisation (not only in reference to communist societies) and criticised the academic impotence of the ‘official’ Marxist-Leninist sociology of the time.

  • Issue Year: 50/2014
  • Issue No: 02
  • Page Range: 189-209
  • Page Count: 21
  • Language: Czech