The Hungarian Patient

Social Opposition to an Illiberal Democracy
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Publication date: 
410 pages

The book offers a panoramic overview of the constitutional, political, social and ideational changes in Hungary. The volume also provides a kaleidoscopic analytical frame for the study of the dynamics of political change drawing on concepts from social movement studies, comparative politics, political sociology, gender studies and constitutionalism.

Preface and Acknowledgements


1 Broken Democracy, Predatory State, and Nationalist Populism
András Bozóki

2 Hungary’s Illiberal Turn: Disabling the Constitution
Miklós Bánkuti, Gábor Halmai, and Kim Lane Scheppele

3 Enhancing the Effectiveness of Basic Rights Protection in the Ombudsman’s Activity: Toward a European Type of Ombudsman System
Máté Szabó


4 Party Colonization of the Media: The Case of Hungary
Péter Bajomi-Lázár

5 Captured by State and Church: Civil Society in Democratic Hungary
Ágnes Kövér

6 Political Empowerment or Political Incarceration of Romani? The Hungarian Version of the Politics of Dispossession
Angéla Kóczé

7 Timike and the Sweetie Pies: Fragmented Discourses about Women in Hungarian Public Life
Ágnes Kövér

8 The Rise of the Radical Right in Hungary
András Tóth and István Grajczjár

Immune Reaction

9 Social Responses to the “Hybridization” of the Political System: The Case of Hungary in the Central and Eastern European Context
Péter Krasztev

10 The Road of the Hungarian Solidarity Movement
János Boris and György Vári

11 Milla: A Suspended Experiment
György Petőcz

12 The Rise of the LMP Party and the Spirit of Ecological Movements
András Tóth

13 The Hungarian Student Network: A Counterculture in the Making
Alexandra Zontea

14 Increasingly Radical Interventions: The New Wave of Political Art in Hungary
Gergely Nagy

Life Perspectives

15 From Belarus to Hungary: Lessons from a Traditionalist Revolution
Balázs Jarábik

16 Dark VikTory
Joseph B. Juhász

17 Democratic Resurgence in Hungary: Challenges to Oppositional Movement (An Open-Ended Conclusion)
Jon Van Til


"This book stands out among the recent publications on Hungary. Discussing Hungary as a ‘patient’, the book is divided into a diagnosis (analysing the changes introduced by Fidesz), various symptoms (addressing social problems and marginalisation in Hungarian society, often with a long-term perspective), immune reactions (movements and parties that organise protests and resistance to Fidesz) and future perspectives. Every chapter within these sections discusses a different topic or field, though there is some overlap, as patterns of discrimination and roots of opposition groups are similar. Any reader willing to make their way through, even those well-versed in Hungarian politics, will encounter a myriad of interesting ideas and previously unknown facts."
“This book will take its place as the definitive work on the contemporary social-political scene in Hungary. Issues of democracy, pluralism, and participation are being closely monitored throughout the world, and Hungary’s retreat from these values is of vital importance.”
“The volume offers thorough analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of domestic democratic agency in Hungary, highlighting in several different ways the perils of political polarization. As the editors, wisely, do not try to impose a unified analytical frame on the study of a still emerging political arrangement, the volume can serve both as a collection of background readings rich in details, and, as a textbook opulent with alternative frames to grasp authoritarian trends and anti-authoritarian movements in contemporary Hungary.”
"The Hungarian Patient should be compulsory reading for all Europeans, at least for those engaged in policy making and in Civil Society. In an alarming way, this book shows to which end the rightist takeover leads: to a complete deconstruction of liberal democracies..."
"Fidesz’s dominance is (was) unprecedented. And what makes the phenomenon even more interesting is that the events leading up to Fidesz’s 2010 electoral victory were democratic. The book is not just about Hungary’s electoral backslide, but rather the democratic emergence of an illiberal party. The strength of this edited book is its depth: With one exception, the contributors are interested in the details of one single case: Hungary."