On the cookbook and the pudding Cover Image

O kuchařce a kvalitě pudingu
On the cookbook and the pudding

A reply to Pavel Kolář

Author(s): Miloš Havelka
Subject(s): History, Political history, Social history, Post-War period (1950 - 1989), History of Communism
Published by: AV ČR - Akademie věd České republiky - Ústav pro soudobé dějiny
Keywords: Czechoslovakia 1970-1989;Normalization regime;Czechoslovak society;everydaily life;Czech historiography;

Summary/Abstract: The article is a continuation of the debate between the author and Pavel Kolář on the pages of the Soudobé dějiny journal. It evolves from Miloš Havelka’s review of the publication "Co byla normalizace? Studie o pozdním socialismu" (What was the normalization? A study on late socialism) (Prague, Nakladatelství Lidové noviny – Ústav pro studium totalitních režimů 2016), which was published under the title “Ideologická kritika ideologické kritiky normalizace” (Ideological criticism of the ideological criticism of the normalization) in Soudobé dějiny, Vol. 25, No. 1–2 (2018), pp. 229–243. Kolář reacted to the review by a reply titled “Normalizace ve své epoše: V odpověď na polemiku Miloše Havelky” (Normalization in its Epoch: In Reply to Miloš Havelka’s Polemics) published in Soudobé dějiny, Vol. 25, No. 3–4 (2018), pp. 523–536. Havelka is now developing some of the arguments he used in his review of the abovementioned book, also with respect to Kolář’s reply. He insists that the positions and interpretations of both authors often suffer from ideologicity, abstractness, proclamativity, and one-sidedness, and he relates his reservations to their perception of the society and everydayness during the Czechoslovak normalization (1969–1989). He also returns to the discussion about the concept of legitimacy and legitimate use of violence of Max Weber in connection with research of the period in question. The requirement for a “responsibilization” of the society, which Pavel Kolář identifies himself with and which makes the society liable for maintaining the normalization regime does not, in Havelka’s opinion, distinguish between the state and the society and between different groups of people, their attitudes, and realistic possibilities to influence the situation, and should be fleshed out with analytical interpretations of specific manifestations of this responsibility. Havelka admits that the authors’ intention was to find a new understanding of the normalization period through new, or “corrected” concepts. However, he argues that the “normalized” social and political reality was more complex and more questionable than as presented by the authors, and that the authors do not apply the proclaimed new concepts and viewpoint on reality adequately enough.

  • Issue Year: XXVI/2019
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 115-121
  • Page Count: 7
  • Language: Czech