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Hungary
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Hungary in focus

Introduction In recent years, Hungary has been a constant concern for anyone interested in European politics and Eurozine has published extensively on different aspects of the Hungarian situation. We have collected some of those articles dealing with both recent developments and broader issues relating to Hungarian politics, history and culture.

This collection of texts puts into perspective how, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Hungary's democratic reforms were held up as an example to the states of central eastern Europe. Twenty years later, the political process suffered a sudden reversal following the election in 2010 of the Fidesz government under Viktor Orbán. Now the dismantling of Hungary's political and constitutional system continues.

However, the focus also includes a series of responses to serious unrest on the streets of Budapest in September 2006 after the then Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány admitted to downplaying the scale of the national debt in the run-up to elections earlier the same year.

 

Europe's responsibility

Jan-Werner Müller

On the side of democracy

Should Brussels intervene in EU member states?

politics Brussels is not empowered to be a policeman for liberal democracy in Europe. Not yet. But should it be? Following recent developments in Hungary and Romania, Jan-Werner Müller argues that it is legitimate for Brussels to interfere in member states as a democracy watchdog. [ more ]

03.05.2013
 

Recent developments

J.A. Tillmann

Monuments and other media

Scripted space Recent controversy surrounding Budapest's proposed "Monument of Occupation" leads Hungarian philosopher J.A. Tillmann to reflect on perceptions of space and time in central Europe. And in how public space and national media are currently managed in Hungary. [ more ]

28.11.2014
János Széky

A tradition of nationalism

The case of Hungary

history In an article first published shortly before Viktor Orbán won his second term in office and Jobbik support soared in the April elections, János Széky outlines the historical roots of Hungarian nationalism and how the cult of national unity came to be written into the 2011 constitution. [ more ]

11.04.2014
Gábor Attila Tóth

Power instead of law

The deformation of Hungary's constitutional system

democracy As the Fidesz government dismantles Hungary's political and constitutional system, Gábor Attila Tóth considers the influence of international institutions and the efficacy of domestic, democratic resources far from exhausted. On the contrary, the role played by both will likely be decisive. [ more ]

05.06.2013
Robert Hodonyi, Helga Trüpel

Together against Orbán: Hungary's new opposition

Opposition Amid international concern over government reforms that endanger democracy in Hungary, Hodonyi and Trüpel discover a political renaissance in Hungarian civil society. Ahead of elections in spring 2014, this may well be an antidote to the EU's "political half-heartedness". [ more ]

22.03.2013
Gábor Halmai

Towards an illiberal democracy

Hungary's new constitution

rule of law Hungary's new constitution contradicts European standards on numerous counts: it sets in stone government policy; it is biased towards "ethnic" Hungarians; and it undermines the independence of regulatory institutions including the constitutional court and media. [ more ]

25.01.2012
György Dalos, Miklós Haraszti, György Konrád, László Rajk

The decline of democracy -- the rise of dictatorship

An appeal

governance In a "New Year's appeal", thirteen intellectuals and public figures who opposed Hungary's communist regime in the 1970s outline their concerns about Hungary's new constitution and call on Europe to help halt a slide towards a new dictatorship. [ more ]

25.01.2012
Miklós Haraszti

Notes on Hungary's media law package

(Updated following the agreement with the European Commission)

media law Hungary's media law could lead to a depoliticization of the media the likes of which exists in Russia and other post-Soviet democracies, writes the former OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. The alterations to the law will do little to this halt this tendency. [ more ]

01.03.2011
 

Populism and the politics of memory

Eszter Babarczy, Gábor Csordás, Jody Jensen, János Salamon, Gábor Schein

Does a civil-war mentality exist in Hungary?

A roundtable interview

eurozine interview Political antagonism in Hungary, played out via historical symbols, has prompted commentators in Hungary to talk about a "civil war mentality". Eurozine asks Hungarian journalists, authors, and publishers how it has come to this. [ more ]

30.08.2007
Thomas von Ahn

Democracy or the street?

On the stability of the Hungarian political system

debate The demonstrations in Budapest in September 2006 marked the culmination of a conflict between Conservatives and the liberal Left. The rift is exacerbated by politicized disputes about the past, argues Thomas von Ahn. [ more ]

07.05.2007
György Schöpflin

Democracy, populism, and the political crisis in Hungary

A response to Thomas von Ahn

debate In Hungary, it is not a question of whether history has been instrumentalized by politics, but of whether one approves of how it has been instrumentalized, argues György Schöpflin. [ more ]

07.05.2007
Thomas von Ahn

On the aims of discourse

A response to György Schöpflin

debate Politically motivated narratives about the Hungarian past stand in the way of social consensus. Such a consensus would be an essential component of a society that was reconciled to itself, writes Thomas von Ahn. [ more ]

12.06.2007
 

political culture

Gábor Szétey, Szilvia Szilágyi

"And I am gay"

Interview with Hungarian secretary of state Gábor Szétey

Identity In July, Hungarian secretary of state Gábor Szétey publicly announced his homosexuality. Two days later a gay-pride demonstration was attacked. Szilvia Szilágyi asked Szétey about his decision and whether intolerance towards homosexuals is growing in Hungary today. [ more ]

22.08.2007
 

Dilemma 89

László Borhi

A reluctant and fearful West

1989 and its international context

transition Documents recently released from the Hungarian archives reveal how western leaders, without exception, deferred to the Soviet Union in 1989. The threat of regional chaos meant overwhelming support for preserving the status quo as events unfolded. [ more ]

06.11.2009
Agnes Heller

Twenty years on

transition "In opposition, they do not comport themselves as the opposition to a democratically elected government. When they become the governing party, they pursue the same paternalistic, populist game." Agnes Heller's indictment of Hungarian politicians twenty years after 1989. [ more ]

07.04.2009

Read also All articles in the focal point Dilemma 89

 

Events surrounding 1956

Béla Nóvé

The Orphans of '56

Hungarian child refugees and their stories

emigration Of the 200,000 Hungarian refugees who fled Hungary following the Soviet invasion in 1956, close to 20,000 were "unaccompanied minors". Shortly after the fifty-sixth anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution, historian and former dissident Béla Nóvé traces their life stories. [Polish version added] [ more ]

21.01.2013

Read also Eurozine focal point Hungary '56: The first time as tragedy...

 

Literature

Gábor Csordás

Literary perspectives: Hungary

Mastering history through narrative?

Essay Gábor Csordás reads the newest Hungarian novels, that all share a concern with narrative, holding out to the reader the hope of mastering history. [ more ]

30.01.2006

Read also György Spiró in interview: A witness of the first century

Satire Literary EU standards? A satire by György Spiró

Gábor Csordás

The body of the text

Corporeal writing in Péter Nádas's "Parallel Stories"

Essay Parallel Stories, the new novel by Péter Nádas, interweaves four sets of narratives driven by the twin motors of politics and eroticism. But Parallel Stories is more than the sum of its plot lines. [ more ]

30.01.2006

Read also Péter Nádas on Hungary '56: A headless revolution

More Hungarian literature in Eurozine's Literary perspectives

 

Magazines

Hungary Find out more about Eurozine's Hungarian partner journals 2000 and Magyar Lettre Internationale.

Osteuropa Several articles in this focus have been contributed by Osteuropa, including the cover image.

 

More focal points

The ends of democracy
Paradoxically, at a time when the global pull of democracy has never been stronger, the crisis of democracy has become acute. The focal point "The ends of democracy" asks what will be the result of the ongoing renegotiation of the basic principles of modern societies. [ more ]

The public sphere in the making
The public sphere is not something given; it is made ? over and over again. But which actors are involved and what roles do they play? Is there a difference between an intellectual and an expert? And in which media or public space does the debate take place? [ more ]

Russia in global dialogue
In the two decades after the end of the Cold War, intellectual interaction between Russia and Europe has intensified. It has not, however, prompted a common conversation. The focal point "Russia in global dialogue" seeks to fuel debate on democracy, society and the legacy of empire. [ more ]

Arrivals/Departures: European harbour cities
Harbour cities as places of immigration and emigration, inclusion and exclusion, develop distinct modes of being that not only reflect different cultural traditions and political and social self-conceptions, but also contain economic potential and communicate how they see themselves as part of the larger structure that is "Europe". [ more ]

The EU: Broken or just broke?
Brought on by the global economic recession, the eurocrisis has been exacerbated by serious faults built into the institutional structure of the monetary union. The non-existence of centralized political control over the European economy combined with lack of democratic legitimacy sets in motion processes that are undermining European solidarity. [ more ]

European histories (2): Concord and conflict
In recent years, the possibility of a "grand narrative" that includes both East and West in a common European story has been discussed intensely. In a new Focal Point, Eurozine seeks to broaden the question beyond the East-West historical divide. How are contested interpretations of historical and recent events made active in the present, both uniting and dividing European societies? [ more ]

Changing media – Media in change
Media-technological developments are causing a fundamental re-structuring of the newspaper and book publishing sectors. Yet media change is about more than just the "newspaper crisis" and the iPad: property law, privacy, free speech and the functioning of the public sphere are all affected. [ more ]

Media landscapes: Western Europe
Despite the Internet's growing significance as vehicle of freedom of expression, public service broadcasting and the press will remain for some time the visible face of the watchdog on power. In western Europe, the traditional media need to prove they are still capable of performing this role. [ more ]

The bonfire of the universities
The uni's burning! The slogan was everywhere in the German-speaking space in 2008, as the protests at the University of Vienna set off a wave of similar strikes, first at Austrian universities, then beyond: in Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Zürich... 2009/10 saw further protests at universities in Athens, Zagreb, Marseilles and London. Eurozine surveys a debate enflaming (not only) Europe. [ more ]

Climate of change?
Social agreement about the necessity of radical ecological change may be unprecedented, yet rhetoric and reality go their separate ways. As ambitions for a legally-binding agreement at the Copenhagen recede, serious doubts arise about the efficacy of multilateral climate deals and the assumptions behind cap-and-trade.[ more ]

Dilemma 89
Twenty years after 1989, most former communist states in central and eastern Europe are members of the EU. Yet the transition from closed to open societies is far from "complete". '89 not only historic moment of liberation, but also political and social dilemma for the present day. [ more ]

Media landscapes: Central and Eastern Europe
Those in central and eastern Europe who in '89 took the commitment to free expression seriously, who saw the media as the handmaiden of democracy and the conventional watchdog on political and commercial power, today have become targets for new and subtler forms of censorship. [ more ]

The malady of infinite aspiration?
Sound in principle or sick at heart? Articles on the financial crisis, compiled under Durkheim's memorable phrase. Including: Jacques Rupnik, Ralf Dahrendorf, Daniel Daianu, Mircea Vasilescu, Heiner Flassbeck, Olivier Mongin. [ more ]

Olympic indifference
The Beijing Olympics 2008 are unusual insofar as not one country has boycotted them. This, despite the fact that the political dimension of the Games has seldom been more controversial. Are we seeing a new kind of "Olympic indifference"? With this in mind, Eurozine compiles articles on sport, politics, and protest. [ more ]

Shared space, divided society
Migration is part of modern society, meaning more and more people of different ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds live together in Europe. The multitude of perspectives and experiences represents an enormous resource, but as cultural conflicts inherent in today's urban societies become visible, doubts are also raised about the value of diversity. [ more ]

1968: Beyond soixante-huite
Forty years on, the differences between the 1968 uprisings in western and eastern Europe move into ever sharper focus. "In retrospect, the great event of '68 in Europe was not Paris, but Prague. But we were unable to see this at the time." Including articles on '68 in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, France and West Germany. [ more ]

Illiberal Europe?
Parliament or the soapbox? Populist politics are enjoying renewed success in Europe, above all in the former socialist countries. Ivan Krastev, G.M.Tamas, Ralf Dahrendorf, Jacques Rupnik and others investigate the rise of "democratic illiberalism". [ more ]

Cultural citizenship
The concept of cultural citizenship responds to the multicultural context of contemporary societies, in which the concern with equality is increasingly being complemented with a concern with difference. Contributors include Gerard Delanty, Axel Honneth, Rainer Bauböck, Ivaylo Ditchev, Charles Taylor, Rada Ivekovic, António Sousa Ribeiro. [ more ]

Decentring Europe
Any reinvention of the concept of Europe that takes into account the complexities inherent in Europe's place in a globalized world must contain a critique of Eurocentrism. Learning from the South, i.e. absorbing the full critical impact of alternative approaches may be a key element in the rethinking – and unthinking – of "Europe".[ more ]

The future of war
Are wars that are fought between nations a thing of the past, and are the future challenges more a case of ethnic strife, break-up of failed states, secession and civil wars? In a special focal point, Eurozine analyzes the changing face of warfare in the twenty-first century, in which terrorism and new security threats have profoundly transformed the way wars are conducted. [ more ]

The city as stage for social upheaval
From the western European city to the Third World megacity, one is able to observe how a single principle asserts itself in the social structure of the urban space. That principle – privatization – is geared towards the concentration of wealth and assets on an increasingly global scale, a manoeuvre its beneficiaries seek to naturalize. [ more ]

Big Brother goes global
Post 9/11, governments are increasingly tailoring "international standards" to ratify domestic policies that intrude on civil liberties. Welcome to the phenomenon of "policy laundering". [ more ]

Changing Europe
As political Europe turns 50, the questions about its future are as open as ever. A special focus featuring some of Eurozine's most outstanding contributions on the European project: From analyses of the current crisis to a hilarious parody of Brussels' literary ambitions. [ more ]

Europe talks to Europe: Towards a European public sphere?
The European integration project has made the discussion about transnational spaces for cultural and political debate acute. Can there at all be a common Europe without a pan-European public sphere? [ more ]

Politics of border making and (cross-)border identities
Have borders become irrelevant with the project of a united Europe? No, just the opposite. On the dilemmas of border building and cross-border cooperation in the EU and its neighbourhood. [ more ]

Documenta 12 magazines
Eurozine is participating in the Documenta 12 magazines project, which links over 90 print and on-line periodicals worldwide. Read Eurozine's contributions to the documenta leitmotifs "Modernity" and "Bare Life" here.[ more ]

Freedom of speech and the Danish cartoon controversy
Free speech is a fundamental human right and a central tenet of democracy. Or is it? Reactions to the Danish cartoon controversy show that liberals are re-evaluating what the right to free speech entails. [ more ]

Politics of translation
Translation today is as much about the translation of cultural, political, and historical contexts and concepts as it is about language. [ more ]

 

Focal points     click for more

Debating solidarity in Europe

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/solidarity.html
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, questions of inequality and solidarity have become intertwined. Over the past year, however, questions of solidarity have also been central in connection to the treatment of refugees and migrants. [more]

Ukraine: Beyond conflict stories

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/ukraine_beyond_conflict4.html
Follow the critical, informed and nuanced voices that counter the dominant discourse of crisis concerning Ukraine. A media exchange project linking Ukrainian independent media with "alternative" media in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Greece. [more]

Russia in global dialogue

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/eurocrisis.html
In the two decades after the end of the Cold War, intellectual interaction between Russia and Europe has intensified. It has not, however, prompted a common conversation. The focal point "Russia in global dialogue" seeks to fuel debate on democracy, society and the legacy of empire. [more]

Ukraine in European dialogue

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/ukrainedialogue.html
Post-revolutionary Ukrainian society displays a unique mix of hope, enthusiasm, social creativity, collective trauma of war, radicalism and disillusionment. Two years after the country's uprising, the focal point "Ukraine in European dialogue" takes stock. [more]

Culture and the commons

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/culturecommons.html
Across Europe, citizens are engaging in new forms of cultural cooperation while developing alternative and participatory democratic practices. The commons is where cultural and social activists meet a broader public to create new ways of living together. [more]

2016 Jean Améry Prize collection

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/jeanameryprize2016.html
To coincide with the awarding of the 2016 Jean Améry Prize for European essay writing, Eurozine publishes essays by authors nominated for the prize, including by a representative selection of Eurozine partner journals. [more]

The politics of privacy

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/privacy.html
The Snowden leaks and the ensuing NSA scandal made the whole world debate privacy and data protection. Now the discussion has entered a new phase - and it's all about policy. A focal point on the politics of privacy: claiming a European value. [more]

Beyond Fortress Europe

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/lawborder.html
The fate of migrants attempting to enter Fortress Europe has triggered a new European debate on laws, borders and human rights. A focal point featuring reportage alongside articles on policy and memory. With contributions by Fabrizio Gatti, Seyla Benhabib and Alessandro Leogrande. [more]

Vacancies at Eurozine     click for more

Eurozine is seeking an Online Editor and Social Media Manager for its office in Vienna.

Preferred starting date: February 2017.
Applications deadline: 31 January 2017.

Conferences     click for more

Eurozine emerged from an informal network dating back to 1983. Since then, European cultural magazines have met annually in European cities to exchange ideas and experiences. Around 100 journals from almost every European country are now regularly involved in these meetings.
Mobilizing for the Commons
The 27th European Meeting of Cultural Journals
Gdańsk, 4-6 November 2016

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/gdansk2016_official.html
The Eurozine conference 2016 in Gdańsk framed the general topic of solidarity with a focus on mobilizing for the commons. The event took place in the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk and thus linked contemporary debate to the history of a broad, non-violent, anti-communist social movement which has started in the city's shipyard in 1980. [more]

Support Eurozine     click for more

If you appreciate Eurozine's work and would like to support our contribution to the establishment of a European public sphere, see information about making a donation.

Eurozine BLOG

On the Eurozine BLOG, editors and Eurozine contributors comment on current affairs and events. What's behind the headlines in the world of European intellectual journals?
Eurozine
In memoriam: Ales Debeljak (1961-2016)

http://www.eurozine.com/blog/in-memoriam-ales-debeljak-1961-2016/
On 28 January 2016, Ales Debeljak died in a car crash in Slovenia. He will be much missed as an agile and compelling essayist, a formidable public speaker and a charming personality. [more]

Time to Talk     click for more

Time to Talk, a network of European Houses of Debate, has partnered up with Eurozine to launch an online platform. Here you can watch video highlights from all TTT events, anytime, anywhere.
Neda Deneva, Constantina Kouneva, Irina Nedeva and Yavor Siderov
Does migration intensify distrust in institutions?

http://www.eurozine.com/timetotalk/does-migration-intensify-distrust-in-institutions/
How do migration and institutional mistrust relate to one another? As a new wave of populism feeds on and promotes fears of migration, aggrandising itself through the distrust it sows, The Red House hosts a timely debate with a view to untangling the key issues. [more]

Editor's choice     click for more

Jürgen Habermas, Michaël Foessel
Critique and communication: Philosophy's missions

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2015-10-16-habermas-en.html
Decades after first encountering Anglo-Saxon perspectives on democracy in occupied postwar Germany, Jürgen Habermas still stands by his commitment to a critical social theory that advances the cause of human emancipation. This follows a lifetime of philosophical dialogue. [more]

Literature     click for more

Karl Ove Knausgĺrd
Out to where storytelling does not reach

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2014-04-03-knausgard-en.html
To write is to write one's way through the preconceived and into the world on the other side, to see the world as children can, as fantastic or terrifying, but always rich and wide-open. Karl Ove Knausgĺrd on creating literature. [more]

Jonathan Bousfield
Growing up in Kundera's Central Europe

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2013-08-16-kuisz-en.html
Jonathan Bousfield talks to three award-winning novelists who spent their formative years in a Central Europe that Milan Kundera once described as the kidnapped West. It transpires that small nations may still be the bearers of important truths. [more]

Literary perspectives
The re-transnationalization of literary criticism

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/literaryperspectives.html
Eurozine's series of essays aims to provide an overview of diverse literary landscapes in Europe. Covered so far: Croatia, Sweden, Austria, Estonia, Ukraine, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Hungary. [more]

Debate series     click for more

Europe talks to Europe

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/europetalkstoeurope.html
Nationalism in Belgium might be different from nationalism in Ukraine, but if we want to understand the current European crisis and how to overcome it we need to take both into account. The debate series "Europe talks to Europe" is an attempt to turn European intellectual debate into a two-way street. [more]

Multimedia     click for more

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/multimedia.html
Multimedia section including videos of past Eurozine conferences in Vilnius (2009) and Sibiu (2007). [more]


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