Essays | Eurozine

Native Americans have long been beloved in Hungary, where ‘Indians’ stand for what is real, endangered and exceptional. Viktor Orbán has used the trope to channel demographic anxiety and bolster his anti-migrant rhetoric, but it could also spell trouble for his politics of fear.

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Over a month since the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his partner Martina Kušnírová in Slovakia, the investigation remains inconclusive. But the outpouring of grief and anger that the killings provoked has led to mass street protests, and contributed to the resignation of the prime minister and interior minister. Samuel Abrahám looks back on a month of tumult.

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Disillusion with social media only stimulates the search for ever more refined techniques of manipulation. Detoxing won’t help, writes Geert Lovink: it is collective action, not will power, that can free us from the permanent state of distraction.

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Viktor Orbán’s ruling Fidesz party looks well placed to sweep a third successive general election on 8 April. Why is its brand of right-wing populism – famously dubbed ‘illiberal democracy’ by Orbán himself – so successful in Hungary? Ferenc Laczó investigates.

Intellectuals once mocked clumsy attempts to censor art on ‘moral’ grounds in late-Franco Spain and elsewhere. They’re not laughing now. The shift to identity in politics could give the morality police a new lease of life, argues philosopher José Luis Pardo.

Having turned the law into an instrument of state policy and private vendetta, and having turned the legislature into a caricature without power or independence, can Vladimir Putin afford to become an ex-president? As the Russian leader prepares to be re-anointed in an election on 18 March, Mark Galeotti explores Putin’s options.

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Islamic feminism critiques Islamic patriarchy by historicizing and reinterpreting sources of scriptural authority. Secular feminists, however, rule out any possible compatibility between feminism and Islam. Belgian social scientist Ghaliya Djelloul reviews the arguments and suggests a way past restrictive dichotomies.

A week after journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová were found murdered in Slovakia, the investigation into their deaths risks being overshadowed by a growing political row in which the prime minister has suggested the president is under the influence of George Soros. His attack echoes populist tactics used by Viktor Orbán in neighbouring Hungary.

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