The influence of a minister: Turanism in the Hungarian government



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Tartu Ülikool


The ideology of Hungarian Turanism, which insists on a connection between the Hungarian nation and the nations of the formerly accepted Ural-Altaic language family, has in recent years experienced a revival, to the extent that the Hungarian government itself has shifted its views on the ideology. This leads one to wonder why and how the government's policy has changed. In order to answer this question, one must consider a variety of factors including memory politics, ethnosymbolism, the relevance of Turanism in Hungarian history, and the role played by the Hungarian Minister of Human Resources, Miklós Kásler. Kásler insists that Hungarian being Uralic is more of a linguistic statement than a genetic one, which leads to the question of how national identity changes based on the label given to an ethnicity on the basis of genetics or linguistics. In this thesis I analyze interviews with Kásler in connection to the aforementioned factors to answer the question of how and why Hungarian government policy in relation to Turanism has changed. One of the major findings from this thesis was the level of influence Kásler possesses and how this decisively gave him the political clout to promote a revival of Turanism through his own institute. This indicates conclude that the current political climate in Hungary allowed for an environment that gave him such influence.