"Opustíš-li mne, zahyneš…" : Akademická dráha Otakara Machotky a dalších českých sociologů v emigraci po únoru 1948
" If You Leave Me, You Will Die…" : The Academic Trajectories of Otakar Machotka and other Émigré Czech Sociologists after February 1948
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This article focuses on Czech sociologists who left Czechoslovakia immediately after the communist coup in February 1948 and their subsequent academic and personal fates in exile. Attention is devoted principally to Otakar Machotka (1899–1970), a prominent figure in both Czech political life and pre-Marxist Czech sociology with strong personal and methodological ties to the Chicago School; this article’s research draws on his correspondence and on other archived sources. Machotka’s special circustances worked to his favour in the United States where he was offered excellent academic positions. However, Machotka was opposed to the sociological mainstream(s) of his time and (unsuccessfully) attempted to establish his own school between sociology and social psychology. After that he accepted a tenured position at a marginal non-research university and failed to gain an audience in wider American or international academia. On a personal level, he preferred to focus on his family and social work rather than to take part in the academic game. In this he was perhaps influenced by the bleak fates of two of his colleagues in exile, František Rouček (1891–1952) and Zdeněk Ullrich (1901–1955), both of whom gave priority to their professional careers, which took them to Africa, where they both met an early death. Members of the youngest cohort of Czech post-February 1948 exiled sociologists, however, enjoyed happier fates, gaining some international academic renown, but only after graduating (anew) from western universities.
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