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The making of the Hungarian postcommunist elite: Circulation in politics, reproduction in the economy

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... A politikai mezőny kiépítésének közép-európai kontextusa A szocialista rendszerben a magántulajdon és a legálisan történő tőkefelhalmozás rendkívül korlátozott volt. Ennek következtében nem formálódhatott ki egy jelentős gazdasági elit, amely a régi rendszer összeomlását követően mozgósíthatta volna gazdasági erőforrásait az új gazdasági, politikai, társadalmi berendezkedésben való hatékony pozícionálódás érdekében (Szelényi, Szelényi-Kovach, 1995). Szalai (1995Szalai ( , 1999Szalai ( , 2001, Magyarország esetében arra mutat rá, hogy egyes diplomások a tercier szektorból (pl. ...
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The author describes the particularities of the reproduction models of the communist elite in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, focusing in particular to Romania. Throughout the study the fact that the above mentioned particularities can be attributed to the differences between the political actors is emphasized. The Romanian situation is compared to that in Hungary, where, similarly to Romania, the bureaucrats of the past regime succeeded to power even after the change of regimes, despite the fact that there are considerable differences in the development of the two countries
... However, the historical trajectory of the Czech agriculture represents a somewhat unique case. The Hungarian agriculture, for instance, kept dual structure of large estates operating alongside small farms even under central planning (Meurs 2001), which enabled faster decollectivisation of the agricultural sector, as well as renewal of the private farming within the "embourgeoisement process" (Szelényi 1995). ...
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The authors discuss the main characteristics of women as farm operators using national sample studies conducted in 1994, 1999 and 2007. After an analysis of literature and various research results some hypotheses were formulated, i.e.: the better education of rural women than rural men, women as "unnatural" or "forced" farm operators due to various household circumstances, the "weaker" economic status of farms operated by women. Basic results of the studies carried out in 1994, 1999 and 2007 confirm the hypothesis about the weaker economic position of female operated farms. Moreover, women farm operators were slightly older and far better educated than their male counterparts. On the contrary, the males were more active off the farms in the public sphere. In addition, the circumstances of becoming farm operators did not differ significantly between males and females. Finally, there were no significant differences between "male" and "female" styles of farming.
... petrecut cea mai mare parte din viaţa adultă şi activă în perioadă dificilă de tranziţie post-comunistă. Începând cu această cohortă, antreprenorii au devenit cea mai bine remunerată categorie. O bună parte dintre aceşti antreprenori sunt foşti manageri din fabricile socialiste, după cum se arată în o serie de studii internaţionale (Róna-Tas, 1994;Kovach et. al., 1995;Szelenyi şi Szelenyi, 1995;Staniszkis, 1999;Eyal, Szeleny şi Townsley, 2001) sau naţionale (Pasti, 2006;Petrovici, 2006;Pop, 2009). În acelaşi timp, clasa formată din profesionişti/experţi este caracterizată printr-un venit minim comparativ cu celelalte cohorte, iar muncitorii calificaţi intră pe o pantă descendentă în ceea ce priveşte c ...
... etrecut cea mai mare parte din viaţa adultă şi activă în perioadă dificilă de tranziţie post-comunistă. Începând cu această cohortă, antreprenorii au devenit cea mai bine remunerată categorie. O bună parte dintre aceşti antreprenori sunt foşti manageri din fabricile socialiste după cum se arată într-o serie de studii internaţionale (Róna-Tas, 1994;Kovach et. al., 1995;Szelenyi şi Szelenyi, 1995;Staniszkis, 1999;Eyal, Szeleny şi Townsley, 2001) sau naţionale (Pasti, 2006;Petrovici, 2006;Pop, 2009). În acelaşi timp, clasa formată din profesionişti/experţi este caracterizată de un venit minim comparativ cu celelalte cohorte, iar muncitorii calificaţi intră pe o pantă descendentă în ceea ce priveşte compl ...
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Pentru a putea fi inteles in dinamica sa contemporana, sistemul de stratificare sociala din Romania trebuie privit dintr-o perspectiva critic-metodologica a modelelor de stratificare folosite pana acum. Lucrarea urmareste construirea unei scheme de clase sociale noi si flexibile, vazuta ca instrument analitic util in descrierea si intelegerea societatii, incercand prin acest demers sa introduca particularitatile romanesti in literatura internationala de specialitate. Schema propusa este utilizata pentru testarea inegalitatilor so a distantelor sociale dintre clase, a ratelor de mobilitate sociala intergenerationala, dar si a proceselor de realizare de status. Rezultatele analizelor sunt prezentate in diacronia lor si prin compararea indivizilor nascuti in diferite cohorte socio-istorice care, in anumite cazuri, influenteaza si isi pun amprentaasupra traiectoriilor individuale.
... Such breakthroughs might occur in cases of successful processes of intersecting accumulation of material and immaterial capital assets (Asztalos Morell 2014). Rather, the post-socialist economic elites originate from the elites of the late Soviet period (Szelényi, Szelényi, and Kovách 1995). ...
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Co-edited with Ann-Marie Sätre One of the main ideas behind this book was to trace continuities from the Soviet time to post-Soviet Russia. There are many similarities between Russia and Ukraine, indicating such a continuation. Russia and Ukraine had a lot in common in terms of culture, language and history, partly also because of their common origin. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, however, the two independent countries chose different routes of development. This makes it possible to distinguish between the effects of politics/reforms on the one hand, and the impacts from the Soviet system on the other. After some more or less chaotic development paths in the 1990s, showing clear differences between the two countries, and before the contemporary conflict broke out in Eastern Ukraine (2013), they had once again more similarities in terms of political leadership and policies in general. The chapters in this book focus on Ukraine and on two regions in Russia: Nizhny Novgorod and Archangelsk. Contributors look at attitudes towards poverty and poor people; strategies of the poor; and policies against poverty. This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe.
... 'Culture wars' (Kulturkampf ) have been prevalent phenomena after the collapse of the communist regime in 1989. In contrast to politics, the cultural elite was not affected significantly by the regime change; most of its members 'survived' ELITE CIRCULATION IN THE HUNGARIAN CULTURAL ELITE. the transformation period (Szelényi, Szelényi, and Kovách 1995;Kristóf 2012). Consequently, two parallel narratives dominated Hungarian intellectual life. ...
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Recent literature on Hungary seems to be conclusive about the fact that elite consensus has collapsed and democracy is backsliding towards autocracy because of the elites’ norm-breaking behavior (Lengyel 2014; Bozóki 2015; Kristóf 2015). It is also recognized that the governmental elite has been gaining influence and power over other elite groups. Since 2010, the ruling political elite has reallocated property rights, public and EU funds to new loyal economic elites who are much more closely controlled by the political elite (Csillag and Szelényi 2015). Though less the focus of scientific inquiry, a similar process has occurred in the field of culture: the incumbent political elite aspires to eliminate old cultural structures in order to redistribute cultural positions and resources. This case study is based on interviews with leaders of theatres, cultural policy-makers and the most renowned actors and directors in the Hungarian theatrical field. Interviews are supplemented with discourse analysis about the circulation of the theatre elite, and a public opinion poll (N=500) about the reputation of two emblematic figures of the old and the new elite.
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This chapter challenges exogenous accounts of the neoliberal transformation in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the former USSR by analysing the gradual ascendancy of ‘proto-neoliberalism’ in Hungary before the regime change in 1989–90. Through a case study of the influential Financial Research Institute (Pénzügykutatási Intézet, FRI), the official research institute of the Ministry of Finance, and an in-depth analysis of ‘Turnabout and Reform’ (Fordulat és Reform), a document published in 1987 by a group of radical reform economists associated with the FRI, the chapter looks at how they interpreted the deepening crisis of the Kádár regime and what methods they employed in order to reorient reform debates along neoliberal lines. The chapter demonstrates that neoliberalism was not an ‘imported project’, which arrived ‘from the West’ on the eve of the transition, but rather a largely ‘home-grown’ programme, developing in dialogue between radical reform economists and reform-minded political elites. In this regard, the essential aim of the ‘neoliberal turn’ was to reconfigure the Hungarian economy in line with the exigencies of the capitalist world economy, while ensuring that the political transition went as smoothly as possible. While obviously a repudiation of past policy, policymakers in Budapest thus pursued similar objectives as central planners under ‘actually existing socialism’.
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This paper presents a causal model of membership recruitment into the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, using unit record data from non-Party sources. The findings qualify both the official view and new class theory by showing two roads to Party membership. The first runs through the occupational structure, where workers, professionals, and technocrats are advantaged over individuals outside socialized production. The second runs through educational institutions, providing an educated few with extra opportunities to enter the Party. Results corroborate earlier conclusions that patriarchal allocation of political privileges continues in Hungary. Despite formal guarantees to the contrary, women are significantly underrepresented in the Party. Intercohort changes in membership recruitment show that older cohorts monopolize key Party positions, suggesting that a gerontocracy has emerged in Hungarian political life. Overall, results lend further evidence to the contention that some crystallization in inequalities has taken place in Hungary in the "second stage" of socialist development.
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