Central and East European Studies and Sociology
Year of study:
Democracy or Autocracy? The Development and Status of Hungarian Politics as ‘Modern (Semi) Autocracy’ in Contemporary Hungary
The rise of autocracy is widely reported in the contemporary era to be a threat to democracy. To understand why societies feel disenchanted with the latter and view the former as a desired ideology, it is essential to investigate the underlying causes of the phenomenon. My paper aims to highlight, explain and analyse the process of such transition through the case of Hungary, with the intention to detect similar patterns in other countries and obstruct the formation of new dictatorships. Firstly, my research aims to draw attention to the preceding circumstances of the Hungarian regime change by analysing seemingly unrelated events following the fall of communism and recognising that all contributed to a shift in ideology, resulting in the election of a repressive government in 2010. Secondly, my study investigates the techniques used by the regime, through analysing the methods adopted by the authoritarian Orbán government to transform the Hungarian democratic political system into a dictatorship. As there is extensive and ever-growing support for totalitarian ideology, to prevent the decline of democracy, it is crucial not to underestimate the hidden elements of the phenomenon. The results of my research allow to compare and contrast the underlying reasons and developments in the Hungarian autocratic regime with the experience of other countries led by despotic governments with the aim to understand the current trend of rising authoritarianism and, perhaps, to prevent the extensive decline of democracy.
I am a Sociology and Central and East European Studies student in the second year of my undergraduate programme. I have always had an interest in post-communist social and political developments, particularly in how political ideology has affected social identity. My current research is an attempt to analyse and understand the rise of the authoritarian regime in post-communist Hungary by investigating and highlighting the patterns that led to such a ‘sudden’ change in politics. I am very interested in the applicability of these findings to other countries as well, and if, by determining the underlying causes, the rising of authoritarian regimes in contemporary era can be explained. I am looking forward to conducting more research in understanding the formation of post-communist identity, the presence of collective communist memory and how it is reinforced in subsequent generations and how communist and capitalist identities confront each other within society.