Disability in Czech Illustrated Magazines

Research project at the University of Kiel by Maria-Lena Faßig


Photo: Vlasta 1962, no. 52, p. 03.

The project Disability in Czech Illustrated Magazines examines the portrayal of disability in popular magazines in socialist Czechoslovakia. Disability is considered as a historically and culturally variable category constructed due to the dominant discursive and political power structures of certain times and places. The project analyses these constructions in socialist Czechoslovakia.

Analysing the constructions of disability and researching the processes of categorisation that go with them will provide insights into the categories of normality and otherness and their significance for the legitimisation of the socialist ideology and the preservation of state power structures in Czechoslovakia.

The most important sources for the project are the magazines Svět v obrazech (1945–1992), Vlasta (since 1947) and Mladý svět (1959–2005), which allow analysis of both descriptions in journalistic texts and the portrayal of dis/ability in illustrations. Through this combination of pictorial and textual sources, the project furthermore seeks to gain an understanding of the ways to show and describe otherness in Czech society at different stages of state socialism.