Jagiellonian University of Kraków
Taboo, society and communism. Comparative study of Poland and Czechoslovakia of the 1960s and 1970s
The project is based on general question about the role and method of the social control within the communist societies. The central point of may interest is a taboo, as an important informal tool of social control, according to Mary Douglas a specific for every culture "spontaneous device for protecting the distinctive categories of the universe", which "reduces intellectual and social disorder".
The social control and taboo stand here as the methods which make it possible to conduct the holistic historical analysis of the crucial aspects of the social transformation under communism. Taboo is the important social baggage of society on the threshold of the communist era, which evolved under the influence of various factors at the micro as well as macro social level, having an effect at the same time on the complex system of social control, and consequently the whole social order. The analysis of marginal situations may reveal important principles governing the social order. Access to areas taboo leads primarily through spheres of exclusion areas, which may (but need not be) derived from the existing taboo in the community. There are traditionally associated with certain anomality connected with the body (the example of mental diseases and disability), but also socially unaccepted behaviors which may result in exclusion and as such are hidden (the example of domestic violence and sexual violence). In this context I would like to answer the general question about the transformation of social consensus about taboo spheres, the adaptation of deeply rooted taboos by the official system of social control and –on the other side – its efforts to modernize the society.
The only way to cross the border of taboo is to read the practices of everyday life, through all sources recording human experience. In addition, research and analysis requires the selection of smaller communities of different social background. An important reference point is the public discourse.