“Social anthropology in/of post-socialist Czechia and Slovakia: state of the art”
Although more and more scholars in the Czech Republic and Slovakia identify themselves as ‘social anthropologists’, the scholarship invention is only limited. The lack of reference to a body of theory seems to be the main reason of the incapacity to establish social anthropology as a discipline in both countries some fifteen years after the collapse of the ancien régime. One can also make the remark that western anthropologists have paid relatively scarce attention to these two countries in comparison with research conducted in other countries such as Hungary, Romania, Poland, the former Soviet Union or the Balkan. This fact alone calls for further investigation.
In the absence of an established anthropological journal in Czechia and Slovakia the special issue of Sociologický časopis, the most referenced local social scientific journal, offers specialists of the region an unusual opportunity to address a large scholarly public. The present call for papers should facilitate the intention to provide a picture of the so far scattered researches in social anthropology about the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The purpose is to mark a starting point towards the consolidation of international and local scholarship as congruent research attitudes of reference and inspiration. This can be done by presenting the many facets that characterize anthropological and ethnographic research in these two countries. This is the reason why the present call for papers does not impose any narrowly defined theme for contributions. We also welcome contributions drawing on various intellectual traditions, ranging from classical sociology to postcolonialism, from political to literary theory. However, we expect that contributors will address pertinent questions of the anthropology of post-socialism based on the support of empirical data. They should illustrate how the micro-level insights of the ethnographic method into various processes of transformation can improve our understanding in terms of generally valid theories and thus complement the perspectives of other disciplines and advance the anthropological approach to social reality.
Anthropological research of post-socialism has already proved fruitful in dismantling the millenarian vision of the transformations after 1989. If this vision expected a smooth and continuous restoration of the natural order of things, the anthropology of post-socialism unearthed what some authors called “a recalcitrant reality that has affected the vast majority of the population in the ex-socialist countries”. Hann’s remark that “anthropology provides the necessary corrective to the deficit of ‘transitology’” resumes at the same time the empirical fecundity and methodological originality of the anthropological research. It is exactly the confrontation between the lived experience and the master plans that contributions should illuminate. The areas where this confrontation takes place are various and we will mention only those that so far have been tackled significantly:
We also welcome any empirically grounded research that will enlarge the scope of the anthropological knowledge in post-socialist Czechia and Slovakia by drawing continuity with the intellectual traditions of these countries.
The deadline for abstracts (in Czech or English) of no more than 400 words is 16th of May 2005. Authors of selected abstracts will be informed by the 1st of June 2005. The deadline for full-text contributions of no more than 7500 words is the 2nd of September 2005. The journal will ensure professional translation into Czech. Send abstracts in .rtf or .doc file to the following e-mail address
Yasar Abu Ghosh (Charles University, Prague and EHESS, Paris)
Jakub Grygar (Charles University, Prague)
David Torselo (Lecce University)
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