Buddhist Memories of Normalization in Czechoslovakia

Petra Tlcimukova


The study presents the outcomes of pioneer research on Buddhism in Czechoslovakia during normalization. The research draws on Misztalʼs intersubjectivist sociological approach towards memory and focuses on Buddhist narrative reconstructions of the normalization period. Although the reflection of the religious situation during normalization has not raised much interest, yet, undoubtedly, this period influenced the post-revolutionary relationship of Czech society towards religion, specifically its strongly atheistic character. Either for its historically short local presence or persistently quantitatively low membership, Buddhism is not a representative example of religion within Czech society. Nevertheless, its specifics imply that Buddhism can provide a promising study ground for processes related to the presence of religion within a strongly secularized society such as  Czechoslovakia during normalization. Based on the thematic analyses of autobiographic data the study reveals the importance of three major narrative themes: inclusive understanding of Buddhism and the exclusivity of Buddhists, the control-based interpretations of the state’s relationship towards Buddhists that was traversed through the change of regime in ʽ89, and the ultimate importance of transnational ties.


Buddhist Autobiography ; Collective Memory; Normalization (Czechoslovakia) ; Thematic Analysis

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.20413/rascee.2015.8.1.21-38


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