“Dissatisfied Breadwinners” in Search of the Human Being: How Gender Inequality Was Seen – and Not Seen – in Czechoslovak Marxist Humanism
Jan Mervart (Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences)
Contradictions: A Journal for Critical Thought IV, no. 2 (2020): 71–85
Keywords: Marxist humanism, gender, emancipation, Czechoslovakia
In East-Central Europe, Marxist humanism embodied one of the most promising theoretical developments of the 1960s. While respecting the unquestionable value of this intellectual current, this article highlights the contradiction between the emancipatory proclamations of humanist intellectuals and their reluctance to recognize certain prevalent forms of oppression. After comparing the humanist approach toward gender-structured themes in the former Czechoslovakia with the contrasting techno-optimist approach, the latter group is shown to have been more sensitive toward women’s issues. The article concludes that there was an intrinsic problem in Marxist humanist theory that contributed to this historical shortcoming in its emancipatory efforts.
Translated by Melinda Reidinger.
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