Sociologický časopis
Czech sociological review


← Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 4/2013

Dušan Janák:
The Brno versus the Prague School of Sociology: Myth and Reality [577]

Janák, Dušan. 2013. „Brněnská versus pražská sociologická škola: mýtus a skutečnost.“ Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 49 (4): 577-602

Abstract: This article compares the Brno and Prague schools of sociology, whose existence was among the most important characteristics of Czech interwar sociology. The comparison is performed on three levels: institutional affiliation (affiliation with a university, a learned society, and the publishing platform of a journal); objective conceptual agreement or variance (the degree to which general sociological theories, methodological opinions, evaluative judgements in science are shared); and subjective affiliation with a certain school (the existence of declared support for one school over the other, the antagonism of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ in reviews and debates, ties between a teacher and a student). The opposition between the two schools is most apparent on the institutional level and to some degree on the level of subjective affiliation. On the level of conceptual agreement within one school and opposition to the other, a number of alleged dichotomies and differences are found to be more a myth than a reality. The biggest difference found on that level is a greater inclination towards quantitative methods in the Prague school and towards qualitative methods in the Brno school. As it is impossible to generalise these and other characteristics, the author argues that the concept of academic schools in Czech interwar sociology is best understood using the paradigm of ideal types, rather than as a reflection of a real dividing line, and additionally, for a description of reality, by applying the concept of centre and periphery employed in subculture studies.

Keywords: Czech sociology, history, 20th century, Brno sociology, Prague sociology, scientific schools

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