The Founding Generation of Japanese Scholars in the Czech Lands (1918–1968)

Social Structure, the Academic Field, and Generational Dynamic

  • Tomáš Gecko Masaryk Institute and the Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences
Keywords: Japanese Studies in Czechoslovakia, Academic Field, Generational Dynamics, Post-Structural Sociology, History of Science

Abstract

The paper aims to understand the process of constituting and consolidating Japanese Studies in the Czech lands, i.e., the Western parts of Czechoslovakia consisting of Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia, in the period between 1918 and 1968. It was this historical period that overlapped with the life and professional activity of the founding generation of local Japanese Studies (Gerolf Coudenhove-Kalergi, Otto Wierer, Jaroslav Průšek, Vlasta Hilská). What were the foundations from which this discipline emerged in the Czech lands and how did social transformations affect its development? To what extent was it influenced by the survival, adaptation, and negotiation strategies of the members of the founding generation of this discipline? The analysis of the behavior of social agents (the microlevel) within the context of paradigmatic and ideological changes in the social structure (the macro-level) using the sociological methodology of Pierre Bourdieu enriched by the generational theory of Karl Mannheim makes it possible to particularize the Sonderweg of Japanese Studies in the Czech lands in comparison with academic institutions further to the west and in the USA, and thus to enrich the social science discourse of East Asia within Western civilization.

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Author Biography

Tomáš Gecko, Masaryk Institute and the Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Tomáš Gecko is a graduate of the PhD program at Charles University in Prague. He works as a postdoctoral fellow at the Masaryk Institute and the Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences and as a senior lecturer at the Institute of Economic and Social History, Faculty of Arts of Charles University. His research interest is mainly focused on business history, international economic relations, and the history of science, with a special emphasis on the development of Czechoslovak discourse on East Asia.

Published
2019-12-16
How to Cite
Gecko, T. (2019). The Founding Generation of Japanese Scholars in the Czech Lands (1918–1968): Social Structure, the Academic Field, and Generational Dynamic. Archiv orientální, 87(3), 537-567. https://doi.org/10.47979/aror.j.87.3.537–567
Section
Research Article