Publication details

Building the Czechoslovak nation and sacralizing peoples’ health: the vicissitudes of disability discourse during the 1920s



Year of publication 2017
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Field Sociology, demography
Keywords Nation-building; civil religion; interwar period; Czechoslovakia; disability; Roma
Description During the interwar period, the sacred meaning of health was refined and disseminated due to mutual efforts from both international and national stakeholders in different countries. This text aims to identify and explore the main pathways of connecting the discourse of health to the nation’s identity as a substitute for traditional religion in Czechoslovakia during the 1920s, a period during which institutions were created and new discourses about health were promoted. By investigating the primary discourses and policies concerning people with disabilities, we deconstruct the concept of functional health as used by Czechoslovak ideologists, in their attempts to connect health and labour as the grounds for building the nation. We trace how the concept of functional health and disability as inability to work operated in favour of delegitimizing the Roma as a nation and establishing tough strategies of surveillance of the Roma population.
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