Saturday 8 December 2018

Communist populism in Hungary

My paper ("Communist populism in Hungary") has been published in Society and Economy 40(4), pp. 623–642.

Publication CoverAccording to Cas Mudde, we live in a “populist Zeitgeist”. The paper argues that not just the 21st, but also the 20th century is about populism. In the first section I elaborate the theoretical background of populism, which is claimed to be a never-ending phenomenon: here, various notions of populism are analysed; I investigate the relationship between democracy and populism; and I refer to the biopolitical framework of populism (called biopopulism) as well. This theoretical framework will be used to analyse Communist populism in Hungary. I elaborate the populism of the Horthyera (1920-1944) in the context of Communist populism. Then I analyse the case of Communist populism in Hungary (1948-1989) according to the following aspects: in the context of the working class and the bourgeois elite; the biopolitical character of the regime; goulash Communism as populist legitimacy; and the viewpoint of socialist patriotism. The main aspect of Communist populism is summarized at the end of the third section, and I briefly refer to the afterlife of Communist populism as a nostalgic phenomenon. The regimes analysed in this study aimed to govern the entire life of the citizens, which is why biopopulism is a useful analytical concept. The biopopulist framework shows that the investigation of the historical backgrounds of populism is necessary to understand contemporary populist tendencies.

The paper is available on Society and Economy and my