Getting away? How state-run media in late-socialist Czechoslovakia helped to subtly control potentially dangerous everyday practices among cottage owners
- Číslo 1 
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourceStudia Ethnologica Pragensia, 2020, 1, 21-36
late socialism, Czechoslovakia, public, private, publics, popular media, everyday practices
This paper explores the interweaving of socialist ideology and the everyday in late socialist Czechoslovakia by analyzing the content of a popular hobby magazine and of a television series between 1968 and 1989. The magazine and the series relate to the phenomenon of weekend cottage ownership, which became especially popular among Czechs and Slovaks from the late 1960s to 80s. While not overtly oppositional to the socialist state, cottage ownership was perceived as potentially dangerous by state authorities because the values it promoted — self-reliance, acquisition of personal property, recreation for private pleasure — ran counter to the state ideology. Based on the analysis of the magazine and the series, this article argues that the subtle use of language in state-controlled media helped to subsume the practice of cottage ownership and to create a distinct public that was incorporated into socialist discourse, stripping the practice of undesirable connotations such as materialism and individualism.