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Course, academic year 2023/2024
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Capitalism vs. Communism: Social Democracy - OBZO13
Title: Capitalism vs. Communism: Social Democracy
Guaranteed by: Děkanát (41-DEKAN)
Faculty: Faculty of Education
Actual: from 2011
Semester: both
E-Credits: 4
Hours per week, examination: 1/1, Ex [HT]
Capacity: winter:unknown / unknown (unknown)
summer:unknown / unknown (unknown)
Min. number of students: unlimited
4EU+: no
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
State of the course: not taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
priority enrollment if the course is part of the study plan
you can enroll for the course in winter and in summer semester
Guarantor: doc. RNDr. Miroslava Černochová, CSc.
Class: Volitelné předměty pro PS
The course will examine the dichotomy between the two predominant forms of state organization and markets, i.e., capitalism and communism throughout the 20th century. Although the concepts have their economic facets, the primary perspective pursued in the course is that of political science. The course integrates two strands of political science: political theory (political philosophy), and comparative (empirical) politics. In the course we will discuss different meanings and interpretations of the concepts, which are used in different contexts across time and space. Capitalism and communism have contrasting understanding of democracy, which is another important issue analyzed in the course. The theoretical background is completed with many empirical examples. The course will focus on the Soviet ideological division of the world into the communist east and capitalist west, and its distorted teaching of economic development applied to the former Warsaw Bloc countries (notably Czechoslovakia). The political movement known as social democracy (that originated in 19th socialist movement) sought compromise between the two contrasting ideologies through state regulation and social reforms aimed at adjusting inadequacies of the capitalist regime. Over the course of the semester the students will become familiar with the theories and their diverse historical applications in various countries.
Last update: CERNOCHO/PEDF.CUNI.CZ (11.02.2011)
Aim of the course

The aim of the course is to present various approaches to the concepts of capitalism, communism and social democracy, and show that the concepts continue to be important and influential today, notably in relation to the understanding of democracy. Most political struggles in contemporary democratic and even non-democratic states of today embodied by left-wing and right-wing parties have roots in the fundamentally different perspectives on the ideal form of organization of society, economy and state. Students will be able to understand these concepts and their various meanings, and analyze and interpret them in various contexts.

Last update: CERNOCHO/PEDF.CUNI.CZ (11.02.2011)

Agnew, Hugh. 2004. The Czechs and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown. Stanford: Hoover Press.

Azcárate, Manuel.1978. What is Eurocommunism?

Berman, Sheri. 2000. Understanding Social Democracy.

Brooker, Paul. 2000. Non-Democratic Regimes: Theory, Government and Politics. Houndmills: Macmillan.

Fukuyma, Francis. 1989. The End of History? National Interest.

Giddens, Anthony. 2005. Third Way. The renewal of social democracy. Cambridge: Polity.

Kopeček, Lubomír. "Comparison of Left Parties in Central Europe. Some Causes of Different Successfulness."pp. 109-117. In Kopeček, Lubomír (ed.). 2005. Trajectories of the left: social democratic and (ex)communist parties in contemporary Europe. Brno: CDK.

Lenin ,V.I. 1920. Conditions of admission to the Communist international

Marx, Karl. 1848. Communist Manifesto.

Mises, Ludwig. 2000. Liberalism in The Classical Tradition. Irvington: The Mises Institute.

Newman, Otto and Richard de Zoysa. 2001. The Promise of the Third Way. Globalization and Social Justice. Houndmills, Basingtoke, Hampshire: Palgrave.

Last update: CERNOCHO/PEDF.CUNI.CZ (11.02.2011)

1. Introductory lecture

Organizational matters, requirements, readings etc.

Ideas and ideology

Democracy and its meaning

Democracy: past and present

2. Non-democratic regimes

Authoritarian regimes

Totalitarian regimes

Readings: Brooker 2000: introduction and chapter 1.

Movie: "Kladivo na čarodějnice" 1969 (Witchhammer)

3. Capitalism : origins and developments

Capitalism as an economic and political system

Theory of Karl Marx and Max Weber

Martin Berger: theory of capitalism

Readings 1: Newman, de Zoysa. 2001: chapter 1.

4. Capitalism as a liberal ideology

Traditions of liberal thought

Free-market economy

Readings 1: Mises 2000: preface, introduction, chapter 1 and 2.

5. Socialism: history of socialist movement

Socialist/communist ideas in the history of political thought

Socialist movement and its strands

Readings: Berman 2000

Movie: "král šumavy" 1959 (smugglers of death)

6. From socialism to communism

Split of socialist movement

Communist ideology

Readings 1: Marx 1848 (especially pages 14-34 and 41-54)

Readings 2: Lenin 1920

Mid-term exam

7. Communism in practice

Communist system in the Soviet Union

Communist system in the Czechoslovakia

Readings: Agnew 2004: chapter 12 and 13

Movie: "Ucho" 1970 (The Ear)

8. Reformist communism and Eurocommunism

The 1953 revolt in the German Democratic Republic and the Prague Spring 1968 in Czechoslovakia

Can communism be reformed?

Eurocommunism in Western Europe

Criticism of communism

Readings 1: Agnew 2004: chapter 13 and 14

Readings 2: Azcárate: 1978


10. Social democracy in theory and practice

Social democracy and socialism

Socialist parties in Europe

Readings: Newman, de Zoysa. 2001: chapter 2.

11. Third way: beyond left and right?

What does political left and right mean?

Theories of third way

Criticism of the third way

Readings: Newman, de Zoysa. 2001: chapter 5 and 6.

12. Socialism and communism in Europe after 1989

End of history

Why communist ideas survive?

Communist and socialist parties in Europe

Readings 1: Fukuyma 1989.

Readings 2: Kopeček 2005: p. 11-26; 109-117.

13. MOVIE: "GOOD BYE, LENIN" (2003)

14. Final exam + students’ projects presentation

Last update: CERNOCHO/PEDF.CUNI.CZ (11.02.2011)
Registration requirements

Tento předmět vyučují odborníci z ÚJOP.

Bližší informace včetně rozvrhu a kontaktů na vyučující najdete na〈=en.

V případě, že máte zájem o zápis do předmětu, kontaktujte vyučujícího předmětu (Miloš Brunclík email: a požádejte ho o zařazení do předmětu.

Last update: CERNOCHO/PEDF.CUNI.CZ (11.02.2011)
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