Sociologický časopis
Czech sociological review


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Dušan Janák:
The Issue of National Identity in the Work of Edvard Beneš [233]

Janák, Dušan. 2014. „Problém národní identity v díle Edvarda Beneše.“ Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 50 (2): 233-264,

Abstract: This article examines the sociology of Edvard Beneš and looks in particular at the questions of whether and how his sociology came to be reflected in his political work, in particular in connection with nationality issues, and whether and how it played a role in the construction of Czechoslovak national identity (based on a synthesis of Czech and Slovak national identities). The article consists of two main parts, the first of which focuses on how Beneš made the conceptual and practical transition from theory to practice, from sociology to politics, a form of politics described here as ‘academic’, while the second is devoted to the issue of nationality in Beneš’s sociology and politics from the perspective of the sociology of social identities. Beneš’s sociology had an instrumental role in the formation of Czechoslovak national identity, most notably with respect to the construction of social boundaries of ‘us’ and ‘them’ in relation to Germans (especially between Czechs on one hand and Germans on the other), and it offered objects of national identification typical for the national movements of small nations and specifically of Czech society. The article devotes special attention to Beneš’s discursive construction and legitimation of Czechoslovak nationality and to the issue of the definition of nationality in the ‘Beneš decrees’.

Keywords: Edvard Beneš, Czech sociology, political sociology, national identity, national state, Czechs, Germans, Slovaks, Czechoslovaks

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