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How is nostalgia felt in post-socialist Hungary?


Hann,  Chris
Department 'Resilience and Transformation in Eurasia', MPI for Social Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Due to the current dire economic situation in Hungary many feel nostalgic about a time in their nation’s history when jobs were more secure. Young Hungarians, despite being highly qualified, have trouble finding work in their home country as well as in Europe. This led to high votes for the nationalist parties in the elections of 2014, who promise a return to the time of the great Austro-Hungarian Empire. This phenomenon can be observed specifically in the rural areas which have felt the effects of the introduction of capitalism and the opening towards the West more strongly. In this video, CHRIS HANN explains that the discipline of Social Anthropology, and the method of participant observation, allow researchers to understand exactly how and why nostalgia is felt in contemporary Hungary. It revealed that there is a difference between nostalgia in the private space of people’s homes versus in the public domain. Publicly, Hungarians are encouraged to feel nostalgia for the times of the Hungarian Empire whereas privately many do for the more recent socialist time, when especially economically deprived parts of society felt more integrated and less ostracized.