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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Dominik Zelinsky

Dominik Zelinsky
Dominik Zelinsky
Sociology School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh UK
Research Interests
Social theory, Cultural Sociology, Communism, Central Eastern Europe, Dissent, Semiotics, Literary Theory, Comparative/Historical Sociology, Hermeneutics, Historical sociology, Sociology of Knowledge, Sociology of Religion, Sociology of Art

PhD Research

My doctoral research focuses on the phenomenon of underground seminars in communist Czechoslovakia. Underground seminars emerged after the Czechoslovak reform movement was forcefully quelled by the invasion of the armies of the Warsaw Pact in 1968. In the following process of “normalisation”, the Communist Party imposed strict regulations on academic life that precluded many from pursuing their studies or careers in research and academia. Underground seminars offered an alternative, unofficial education and provided spaces for discussion of philosophical, sociological, or theological topics that had no place in the official academy, dominated by Marxism-Leninism. My approach is based on the tradition of interpretive social science, inspired by the works of Émile Durkheim and Max Weber. It further draws inspiration from phenomenology, symbolic anthropology of Victor Turner, Clifford Geertz or Mary Douglas, and from recent American cultural sociology. Method-wise, my project is based on reconstructive historical ethnography, drawing on primary texts of Czechoslovak dissidents, archival sources, and unstructured interviews.

More on my Academia and Research Gate profiles.

(I am currently on fieldwork in the Czech Republic)


Lisa McCormick

Ross Bond


since 2016 - PhD in Sociology, University of Edinburgh

2014 - 2016 - Mgr. (MSc) Sociology, Masaryk University (Czech Republic)

2011 - 2014 - Bc. (BA) Sociology, Masaryk University (Czech Republic)


2018 - Tatrabanka Foundation Grant

2017 - Jan Hus Educational Foundation Scholarship

2016 - Economic and Social Research Council +3 Scholarship


Želinský, Dominik (2018) 'Freedom from, or in Socialism? The Prague Spring in Slovak Political Discourse' 1968: Origins - Myth - Impact (working paper, international graduate workshop, Tuebingen University)

Želinský, Dominik and P. Janebová (2017) 'What Does It Take to Become a Hero: Perspectives of Cultural Sociology and Political Science.' Pp. 37-46 in Transregional versus National Perspectives on Contemporary Central European History, edited by M. Vít and M. Baran. Stuttgart: Ibidem Verlag.

Želinský, Dominik and W. Binder (2017) 'How Not to Prepare Majales: A Meaning-Centred Analysis of Subversive Student Performances in Communist Czechoslovakia.' Sociální Studia 13 (4): 61-79.

Želinský, Dominik (2017) 'An Ethnographer inside the Stasi: On Andreas Glaeser's Political Epistemics.American Journal of Cultural Sociology. (review essay)

Conference Presentations

Želinský, Dominik (Forthcoming 2018) 'The Only Real Philosophers: Iconicity and Knowledge Production in Czechoslovak Underground Seminars.' Social Science History Association. Phoenix, USA

Želinský, Dominik (Forthcoming 2018) 'To Anyone Who Might Be Listening: Understanding and Expectation in Unofficial Philosophy Seminars.' Association for Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies. Boston, USA.

Želinský, Dominik (2018) 'The Appeal of Understanding: A Sociological Analysis of Underground Seminars in Communist Czechoslovakia.'  British Sociological Association Annual Conference. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Želinský, Dominik (2017) 'Philosophy and power: Solidarity, resistance, and underground seminars in communist Czechoslovakia.' 13th Conference of the European Sociological Association. Athens, Greece.

Želinský, Dominik (2017) 'The Music of Spiritual Poverty: Jazz in Stalinist Czechoslovakia.' Yale Center for Cultural Sociology Annual Spring Conference. New Haven, USA.

Želinský, Dominik (2016) 'Where It All Happened: Authenticity and Commemoration Ritual.' ISA 3rd Forum of Sociology. Vienna, Austria.