Publications, recordings and other outputs

An overview of what I have written and published (as sociologist) or recorded and released (as musician). Simply, all public "outputs" of my work. When technically feasible and legally possible, I will add full texts and, in respective parts of the musical section of this web, musical samples in mp3.
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KONOPÁSEK, Z. / KUSÁ, Z. (2006): Political screenings as trials of strength: Making the communist power/lessness real. Human Studies, 29 (3): 341-362


In this paper we discuss the problem of communist power in so called totalitarian regimes. Inspired by strategies of explanation in contemporary science studies and by the ethnomethodological conception of social order, we suggest that the power of communists is not to be taken as an unproblematic source of explanation; rather, we take this power as something that is itself in need of being explained. We study personal narratives on political screenings that took place in Czechoslovakia in 1970 and analyze how the power of communists obtained its strength from ordinary and “unremarkable” interactions between participants. The screenings are interpreted, in the terms of Bruno Latour, as “trials of strength.” We show that it was crucial for all the participants that associations, translations or mobilizations involved in making the regime real, remained partial and multiple, and not exclusive and “total” as is often assumed within dominant discourses on totalitarianism.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2006): Why experts are seen as neutral arbiters in the Czech Republic? Understanding the post-communist politics of de-politicization CTS Research Reports, CTS-06-06. Praha: CTS. Available at


The situation in contemporary Czech Republic provides numerous examples showing that experts and scientists keep enjoying an unchallenged and privileged status of neutral arbiters, situated out of the political arena. Although comparisons between the post-communist East and (capitalist) West are always at risk of being schematic and inadequate, it seems that such de-politicized perception of science is much stronger in the Eastern Europe than in most Western European countries. Underdevelopment of STS (Science and technology studies) in the post-communist East is part of this diagnosis. Different political cultures of expertise in the “new” and “old” EU member states might even turn into sources of tension and misunderstanding on the level of particular problems and controversies. In my paper I would like to make the difference and its roots more understandable. I will discuss the political status of science under the communist regime and its implications for the development after 1989. That time, in the Czech Republic, science and expertise were to be “finally liberated” from the burden of the political, with the hope that this de-politicization would bring us closer to Western democracies. This was a huge misapprehension, however, since Western democracies were at the very same time shifting towards a kind of “re-politicization” of the realm of science and technology. Propensity toward de-politicization was further increased, again quite paradoxically, by the process of accession of the Czech Republic to the EU. This process, simply put, had the form of purely technical implementation of unquestionable measures and principles. Although my presentation will take empirical evidence and case examples mostly from the Czech Republic, it may open a more general discussion about science and expertise in other post-communist countries as well.

Paper prepared for the international workshop on Science and Democracy. A New Frontier between Eastern and Western Europe? The Nobel Museum and Södertörn University College, Stockholm, September 4-6 2006

KVARTET DR. KONOPNÉHO (2006): Skrývám se, ale nikdo mě nehledá (2CD) [I am hiding, but nobody is looking for me]. Guerilla Records [GR 038-2]


"Kvartet Dr. Konopného [Dr. Konopny Quartet] is considered as a legend of the Czech alternative scene. Surrealist-dadaist visions of Radomil Uhlir (voice, lyrics) are presented in an original, wild way, accompanied by weird musica improvisations. Some say it is the craziest Czech band ever. And that is also why Guerilla records releases this album! The double CD "Skrývám se, ale nikdo mě nehledá" [I am hiding but nobody is looking for me] contains two silver discs - an archival one "Kosmický pesimismus" [Cosmic pesimism] (74:46 min.) and the present lineup of the band on "Stíny bojovníků" [Shadows of warriors] (76:15 min.). The album offers a lot of music, so your joy may last long..." (freely translated from: [audio samples here]

KONOPÁSEK, Z. / PALEčEK, J. (2006): V moci ďábla: Exorcismus věřícnýma očima [Exorcism of Emily Rose: The reality of possession as a subject for social sciences]. Biograf (40-41): 138-171


 A critical analysis of the film Exorcism of Emily Rose (Scott Derrickson 2005). We emphasize ambivalent medical/religious interpretations, presented in the moview, of a tragic case of exorcism of a young girl by her priest. Such a focus allows us to explain some important aspects of our own research approach applied to a study of spiritual and religious experiences in psychiatry.

DAVID, G. (2005): Žertování o cenách v arabských koloniálech: Jak mohou citlivá témata proměňovat mezi-skupinové vztahy [Price humor in Arab-owned convenience stores: Using potentially sensitive topics to transform intergroup relations]. Biograf, (36): 25-54 - translated by Zdeněk Konopásek


Tensions between small immigrant-owned stores and their African-American customers are frequently cited as a major problem in large urban cities in the United States. Whereas most research has focused on the problematic nature of this relationship, the research reported in this paper attempts to focus on the positive. Rather than being plagued by tensions and problematic encounters, this paper asserts that interactions in small "convenience stores" are largely unproblematic. This paper examines the occurrence of unproblematic cross-cultural encounters as a collaborative effort between customer and worker. Specifically, this paper demonstrates how humor plays an important role in the formation of positive relationships through the analysis of "price humor". While high prices have been cited as a source of tension, this paper shows how sensitive topics, such as price, can be used by interactants to build rapport across the counter.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2005): Aby myšlení bylo dobře vidět: Nad novou verzí programu Atlas.ti [Making our thinking visible: A review of the new version of Atlas.ti]. Biograf, (37): 89-109


With references to my review of the software package from 1997, I discuss the newly released version of Atlas.ti, an advanced CAQDAS (computer assisted qualitative data analysis software) representative. Who is this software tool good for and why? What are the main principles of analytic work with the programme? What is new in this version? Also, I mention features still missing in the programme and whether or not to upgrade from previous version. 

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2005): Exploring ordinary resources of an extraordinary power: Toward ethnomethodological study of the communist regime CTS Research Reports, CTS-05-07. Praha: CTS. Available at


Paper prepared as an invited plenary speech for the International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis Conference, Bentley College, Waltham, MA, USA, August 6-9, 2005

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2005): Co znamená interpretovat text? [What it means to interpret a text of qualitative data?] In: M. Miovský, I. Čermák & V. Chrz, eds.: Kvalitativní přístup a metody ve vědách o člověku - IV: Vybrané aspekty teorie a praxe. Olomouc: FF UP. Pp. 85-95


What it means to interpret the text of collected qualitative data? Interpretation is usually understood as an intellectual procedure by which our empirical experience is conceptually processed; by which it is grasped and seen in some novel way. This is how methodologists and philosophers think. My contribution takes a different view. I show interpretation not so much as mental processes (of reading), but rather as observable and accountable material practices (of writing). I demonstrate, for instance, that what we commonly take as „new reading of a text“ actually can be viewed as „reading of new and new texts“, i.e., of texts that are progressively and constantly produced by and through our own analytical work with the data. From such a point of view, the art of interpretation becomes perhaps less exclusive and mysterious, but the more it becomes accessible, accountable and instructable.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2005): Nesnáze s etnometodologií [The troubles with ethnomethodology]. Biograf, (38): 85-109



Zátory (2004): Dubeček - Domáč. CD. Self released

Home demo recorded in Dubeček near Praha. [audio samples here]
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Closest events/performances

18. 5. 2024 -

Platón: Sokratova obhajoba [Plato: Defense of Sokrates] (Trnava)

The voice of Sokrates by Jaroslav Dušek, people of Athens performed on drums by Zdeněk Konopásek

19. 5. 2024 -

Platón: Sokratova obhajoba [Plato: Defense of Sokrates] (Bratislava)

The voice of Sokrates by Jaroslav Dušek, people of Athens performed on drums by Zdeněk Konopásek; V klub, 7pm

20. 5. 2024 -

Jaroslav Dušek: The fifth agreement (Plzeň)

Theatrical performance

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Osobní stránky Zdeňka Konopáska -, technická realizace Jakub Konopásek ©