The Rise of Populist Nationalism

Social Resentments and the Anti-Constitutionalist Turn in Hungary
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Publication date: 
310 pages

The authors of this book approach the emergence and endurance of the populist nationalism in post-communist Eastern Europe, with special emphasis on Hungary. They attempt to understand the reasons behind public discourses that increasingly reframe politics in terms of nationhood and nationalism.

Overall, the volume attempts to explain how the new nationalism is rooted in recent political, economic and social processes. The contributors focus on two motifs in public discourse: shift and legacy. Some focus on shifts in public law and shifts in political ethno-nationalism through the lens of constitutional law, while others explain the social and political roots of these shifts. Others discuss the effects of legacy in memory and culture and suggest that both shift and legacy combine to produce the new era of identity politics. Legal experts emphasize that the new Fundamental Law of Hungary is radically different from all previous Hungarian constitutions, and clearly reflects a redefinition of the Hungarian state itself. The authors further examine the role of developments in the fields of sociology and political science that contribute to the kind of politics in which identity is at the fore.

Margit Feischmidt, Balázs Majtényi: Introduction

Kriszta Kovács: Constitutional Continuity Disrupted

Zsolt Körtvélyesi: Continuity, Discontinuity and Constitution-Making: A Comparative Account

Nóra Chronowski: A Nation Torn Apart by its Constitution? Nationality and Ethnicity in the Context of the Hungarian Fundamental Law

Chris Moreh: Towards an Illiberal Extraterritorial Political Community? Hungary’s ‘Simplified Naturalization’ and its Ramifications

Balázs Majtényi, György Majtényi: Shift in the Hungarian Roma Policy after 2010

Margit Feischmidt: New Forms of Nationalism in and the Discursive Construction of the Gypsy Other

Virág Molnár: Civil Society and the Right-Wing Radicalization of the Public Sphere in Hungary

Eszter Bartha and András Tóth: What Lies Beneath the Appeal of the Radical Right to Elite Skilled Workers? The Impact of Deeply Ingrained Nationalism and Perceptions of Multiple Exploitations

Dániel Oross, Dániel Róna and Andrea Szabó: Who Brings the Political Change? Divergent Understandings of Politics Among Politically Active Students

List of Contributors


"The book makes a solid contribution both to the fields of Hungarian politics and national populism. Focusing on just three topics, it offers an in-depth account of the transformation of Hungarian politics during the last decade, combining research on constitutional law with political science. We need more works like this to help us understand the current transformation in postcommunist countries, as well as the effect of the transformation on the shift of views regarding liberal democracy. Applying political science approaches to the study of constitutional law offers new material to understand how populist leaders manipulate institutions and how this can affect both national minorities and the quality of democracy."