Sociology as a Way to Happiness: The Czech Version

Zdeněk R. Nešpor



The engagement of contemporary social sciences in happiness studies blurs the fact that, originally, it was sociology that offered to provide " happiness" with the intention of replacing religious approaches. The implicitly religious nature of the " happiness" movement was characteristic of early Czech sociology (e.g. Emanuel Makovička) and it was adopted by certain followers and epigones of T. G. Masaryk as late as during the interwar years (Ladislav Kunte, R. I. Malý, Alexandr Sommer-Batěk, Jindřich Fleischner and Jan Dušek). Whereas Masaryk himself and academic sociologists as a whole were "restricted" by the rules of scholarly work, or they made a clear distinction between their academic and social-reformist engagement, the afore-mentioned, predominantly amateur, sociologists fully employed "sociology as a way to happiness" in their ambitious visions and reformist projects. Their largely stillborn efforts had (fortunately) a minimal impact on both society and the study thereof, but their efforts should not be forgotten entirely since they represent an important element of early Czech sociology.

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: