There are various philosophical concepts of social justice, but what was considered socially just for concrete people can be only captured in specific historical settings. This talk will trace how a social justice appeal circulated among and was understood by the working population throughout the period of National Socialism and post-war people’s democracy. As a semi-periphery of the European West and given its geopolitical position, Czechoslovakia was influenced by regimes of all times, liberal democracy, National Socialism, and Communism. These regimes implemented the different systems of social justice from above through various institutions of the welfare state and legal norms. Paying attention to language and concrete instruments aimed to establish social justice in the workplace, the talk will raise the question of how people imagined and demanded social justice in time, which is connected chiefly with injustice.
Radka Šustrová is British Academy Newton International Fellow at the University of Cambridge and lecturer in Social History at Charles University in Prague. She deals with the history of the welfare state, nationalism, labour and gender in 20th century Central Europe, especially during National Socialism and Communism. Her book titled 'Nations Apart: Czech Nationalism and Authoritarian Welfare under Nazi Rule' will be published in 2022/23.