2014 | 19 | 1 | 39-60
Article title

The Fall and Rise of the City of Most: On the Dynamics of Socialist Modernity

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During the 1960s and 1970s, the historical town of Most, Northern Bohemia, was wiped off the face of the Earth in order to extract brown coal which was located under its streets and houses. Further away, a rationally planned town of the very same name was built. This article is searching for roots and circumstances of the decisions that determined the post-war history of Most. Its central goal is an analysis of an intellectual and social context in which it was possible to justify such a gigantic experiment, putting the context of modernist technocratic thought and architectural utopias into the centre of the interpretation. From this point of view, specific circumstances of the communist dictatorship played a significant role in the development analysed here, a broader context of modernist utopian and technocratic thought was, however, of even greater importance. The case of Most demonstrates that technocratic thought, based on the conviction that one can break the world down into small pieces and then reassemble it as a jigsaw puzzle somewhere else at another time, proved to be extraordinarily flexible and viable, as it managed to integrate a variety of often opposing ideas and solutions.
  • Charles University Prague and at the Institute for the Contemporary History
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