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2-2008 / Diskuse a rozepře / Jan Horský

What is a ‘National Framework’?

Some Remarks, Questions, and Considerations on an Article by Miloš Řezník

Jan Horský

Jan Horský (*1963) teaches at the Faculty of Humanities of the Charles University in Prague , honza.horsky@seznam. cz       Other contributions by the same author

This is a contribution to the discussion on Miloš Řezník’s article, ‘Narodní kategorie a současná historiografie’ (National categories and contemporary historiography), published in Dějiny – teorie – kritika 3/2006, p. 7–34. I operate nominalistically with the category of nation. In contrast to the study of history in the ‘national historical framework’ I propose the historical analysis and microhistorical correction to the macro-analytical approaches of ‘national history’ (both in principal in agreement with Řezník). The main part of my discussion is, however, concerned with Řezník’s argument that one cannot leave the ‘national historical framework’ without also taking up a position on national identity. My emphasis here is on Weber’s idea of ‘value neutrality’. I also point out the need to distinguish between different layers: (1) (potential) national life, (2) national consciousness, (3) consciousness and a reflected identification of oneself as a member of a certain nation, and (4) the situation in which national motifs enter into the intentionality of social behaviour. These levels should not be confused when conducting research.

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