Plzeňské sympozia

Miloš Havelka

Social vision and Utopia. The “Social Question” between Pauperization and Modernization

pp. 11–19 (Czech), Summary pp. 20 (English)

Problems of the emergence and evolution of the “social question” and the political emancipation of the working classes (along with the concomitant social visions and utopias) in the 19th century are set in the broader context of long-term civilizational processes of industrialization, urbanization, centralization and bureaucratization of the state, and most notably, of the overall modernization of European societies. A phenomenon complementary to these developments was the progressive assertion of the middle classes which became increasingly present in the public space, in the Czech context particularly through the action of the Young Czech party. This section focuses on two aspects of the “social question”: namely, a politically and culturally disciplinatory one, treated in a somewhat restrictive way under the heading of “class struggle”, as well as by analogies with negative attributes of urbanization (prostitution, mounting suicide rates, alcoholism); and a socially emancipatory one, associated with a general trend towards the democratization of society, the enforcement of universal suffrage, increase in educational levels and respect of human rights, which ultimately stimulated the emergence of the modern democratic social state.

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