The Post-War United States of America through the Eyes of a Czech Sociologist. An Unpublished Reflection by Otakar Machotka in its Contexts

Nešpor Zdeněk R.

Abstract

One o f the most s ignificant Czech (social science) reflections o f the
United States was written by the sociologist Otakar Machotka (1899–1970)
and was published in 1946. The author prepared an updated version of the
chapter for publication reflecting the changes that American society underwent
during World War II and its aftermath; however, this could not be published
and thus remained unknown. This rare find in the archives of the unfinished,
yet very significant manuscript as to its contents and methodology allowed
it to be finally published; the editor supplemented Machotka’s work with
an extensive contextual analysis. This article describes and analyses the
development and character of Czech reflections of American society from the
19th c entury until the s econd half o f the 20th century, a tradition in which
Machotka continued in and came to terms with, and which also stemmed off
of Machotka’s work itself. Furthermore, Machotka’s intellectual trajectory,
with an emphasis on the American experience as well as the meaning (for the
author) of its public presentation in the Czech environment, is described. In
conclusion, the significance of the edited manuscript is evaluated in terms of
its theory, methodology, and contents.

Keywords

United States of America – 20th century; American studies; Czech sociology; Machotka, Otakar

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Vydání: 17, 2015, 1