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Pokus o socialistické řešení vztahů mezi občanem a státem

Zdeněk Mlynář, Miroslav Kusý; Jan Mervart (Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences) and Joseph Grim Feinberg (Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences), eds.

Contradictions: A Journal for Critical Thought III, no. 1 (2019): 201–209

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Keywords: Civil society, citizenship, critique of the state, Marxism, Prague Spring

In the historiography of Czechoslovakia under Communist Party rule, civil society is both present and absent. Authors claim either that there was no civil society at all, or that it existed only in inchoate form. In the first instance, then, the absence of civil society is taken as a definitional feature of the authoritarian or totalitarian regime; in the second instance, civil society appears as a result of struggles against the ruling regime, especially during the Prague Spring, which was characterized by a renewal of independent social organization and by the articulation of civic-political demands (for example, by the so-called Club of Engaged Non-Party Members). In both these cases, the notion of civil society is itself invoked uncritically by historians, employed in the term's liberal sense, alongside terms like "democracy" and "human rights," without consideration for how the term was understood in the context of the 1960s. But the notion of civil society was in fact intensively discussed at the time by Czech and Slovak writers, philosophers, and legal scholars. In addition to Miroslav Kusý and Zdeněk Mlynář, whose writings we reprint below, other important theoretical contributions were made by Michal Lakatoš and František Šamalík. All these authors reacted to the preceding, Stalinist period, but they did not seek to replace Stalinism with Western-style liberal democracy. Rather, within the framework of Marxism, they formulated models for a new, socialist democracy, in which citizens would be dominated neither by the state nor by the market, and the individual would not be strictly divided between a political and social self. The notions of civil society they developed were, accordingly radically distinct from the notions typically applied by historians looking back on 1960s Czechoslovakia.

doi: 10.46957/con.2019.1.12

doi for Stát a občan 10.46957/con.2019.1.13

doi for Človek a inštitúcia 10.46957/con.2019.1.14

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