4
Czech and Slovak Society

JIŘÍ MUSIL

Czechoslovakia disintegrated in spite of the fact that the two societies, at the time of the split, had substantially more in common – at least in sociostructural terms – than they had had at the time of Czechoslovakia's formation. At the beginning of the 1990s, both featured similar economic and social structures, and demographic behaviour, and nearly identical legal, technical and educational systems. Slovakia's level of urbanization approached that of the Czech Lands and economic interdependence was very high. In spite of these shared characteristics, the state broke up. In view of the fact that the predominant theory of European integration is based on the concept of economic interdependencies and increasing social homogeneity between parts of Europe, the history of the break-up of Czechoslovakia takes on new importance and merits close analytical attention.

The following study is a comparative analysis of the social structure in the Czech and Slovak parts of former Czechoslovakia. It explicitly assumes that in Czechoslovakia the differences and the similarities between the two parts of the country remained all the time an important aspect of their integration. The growing structural homogeneity, however, never became a sufficient basis for a lasting unity. It is also presumed that the underlying reason for the division of Czechoslovakia was that 'Czechoslovak society' as such had not been established during the seventy years of the existence of the common state, regardless of the efforts of parts of the Czech and Slovak population.


Comparative Models of Structural Changes

Most of the existing studies on the division of Czechoslovakia are principally descriptive. Historical methods for identifying particular events that led to the decline of the federation appear to predominate. In some sociopolitical

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