After the Communist Party took power in Czechoslovakia in 1948, sociology, as a scientific field, was gradually abolished, both institutionally and effectively. It was excluded from the sphere of academia, expelled from post-secondary institutions, and replaced by the compulsory study of Marxism-Leninism. This article deals with the period in the 1960s when political changes in the Communist bloc and the relaxation of domestic political circumstances made it possible for sociology to be taught again at post-secondary schools, a period in which Czechoslovak sociology rapidly advanced towards international standards. This progress was abruptly interrupted by the 1968 invasion. The author uses institutional changes and individual human fates to illustrate how sociology in the pre-normalisation period was then gradually transformed into 'Marxist-Leninist sociology', and how almost all those who had played an important role in reviving Czechoslovak sociology in 1963-64 were shut out. The article aims to demonstrate two basic points: the distinct way in which academic sociology in Czechoslovakia evolved in comparison with other countries in the Soviet bloc (especially Poland), and the relevance of this historical lesson for the younger generation today. The article is based on testimony from participants involved in these events, individual memories, and on records and sources dating from the period under observation.
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