“Intellectual Civil War”: Struggle for a Master Narrative in "Chomsky Affair" 333132@Mail.Muni.Cz

Monday, 11 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Hörsaal 23 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Petr KUBALA, Masaryk University, Faculty of Social Studies, Department of Sociology, Czech Republic
The purpose of my study is to describe and analyse a recent event, concretely public scandal that emerged in the context of post-communist Czech public space. The whole event which was triggered by a visit of Noam Chomsky and his statements on East-European dissidents became known as the Intellectual civil war or Chomsky Affair. This working paper analyses the event as an important discussion, or rather clash, between identities, narratives or memory groups and more generally as a link in the chain of events that play an important role in reinterpretation of the master (hegemonic) narrative on “communist past” and “democratic present”. Contribution is methodologically based on a discourse analysis of newspaper articles from given period (June – August 2014; mainstream journals, commentaries, blogs etc.). The focus is on two main groups involved in this event - “Guardians” and “Riders” of the master narrative. I will describe the discourse field which is outlined by the conflict of those two groups as well as I will focus on their arguments, rhetorical figures and cultural narratives. In the case of “Guardians” (side of the first strong critics of Chomsky´s statements) the centre of attention will be on the strong reactions they made. Those reactions are interpreted as defensive responses that are determined by the Czech post-revolutionary master narrative and its recent weakening. In the case of “Riders of the master narrative” (group of people strongly criticizing critics of Chomsky) I will focus on an attempt to redefine a post-revolutionary narrative which the group made in order to narrate the master narrative differently. In the end, I will provide a cultural-sociological analysis of cultural conditions of struggles or scandals of this kind which occasionally emerge in Czech public discourse.