Capitalism and Culture in Post-Communist Czechoslovakia

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Capitalism and culture in post-communist Czechslovakia and the Czech Republic: the other side of the coin “Toute création culturelle est à la fois un phénomène individuel et social et s'insère dans les structures constituées par la personnalité du créateur et le groupe social dans lequel ont été élaborés les catégories mentales qui la structurent.” - Lucien Goldmann After “a time of comprehensive interference in the arts” , starting from the Nazi occupation of Czechslovakia in March 1939 and ending fifty years later with the fall of the Communist regime, the democratic transition and the liberalization of the Czech society redefined the interaction between culture and society. The scale of the crackdown on culture during the period of normalization and the speed at which the regime was overthrown during the Velvet Revolution were such that the switch to a liberal, capitalistic society was always going to have far-reaching consequences on cultural production. Although the situation in the post-communist era suggests a liberation of culture, it is important to show that the capitalistic context of modern society perverts and fundamentally redefines the very nature of artistic creation. Capitalism, with its negative effects, ends up being a diktat of its own, albeit a more subtle one. We will limit our analysis to the field of literary art, including literature, theatre, and film (the latter is considered a literary art, as its etymology suggests, the word cinematography being derived from the Greek kinema, movement, and graphein, to write). The first, immediate effect of the liberalization process in Czechoslovakia was the depolitization of culture, and literature in particular. After being such a force under Communism, Czech writers experienced a rapid and substantial loss in influence. 1989, as Jiri Holy puts it, marks the “end of a whole era of Czech culture
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