Socialistické paradoxy a postsocialistické korekce
history – 20th century, political science and international relations
paperback, 182 pp., 1. edition
published: august 2019
recommended price: 220 czk
Normalization Festival is a monograph focusing on the period of late socialism in Czechoslovakia, particularly on the late socialist public environment that is nowadays often viewed a priori as toxic.
The monograph features organizers of folk and country concerts, the people who were active in this scene and thus co-created it (and to a certain extent also changed it along the way). Their everyday activities exemplify the problematic nature of today’s mainstream methods of depicting late socialism, which makes the book a retrospective discussion using now established terms, such as gray zone and islands of freedom.
Using scholarly literature, particularly creative interpretation of texts written by anthropologist Alexej Jurčak, it offers an alternative model of a narrative about the period of late socialism, with the Möbius strip, mentioned at the beginning of the book, being possibly an umbrella metaphor.
One of the strengths of the author’s approach is the vast amount of source material he has collected and worked with. The book is the result of field research comprising 50 interviews with organizers, former employees of the cultural and political organizations and media of the time, and musicians. Some of them made part of their private archives available to the author (Milan Petriščák, Jarmila Poláková, Milan Kaplan, Karel Prokeš, Jaromír Nohavica, Jindřich Šrejbr, Zdeněk Červenka).
Aleš Opekar (Hudební věda 2-3/2022)