A divided nation? Production and reproduction of national di/visions in Hungarian diaspora politics (2010–2019)



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Tartu Ülikool


Since the democratic transition in the early nineties, successive Hungarian governments have sought to engage and support the Hungarian diaspora outside the borders of the state. This commitment to creating a diaspora community tied to an imagined motherland can be conceptualised as diaspora politics. Whilst diaspora politics should be differentiated from what is often referred to as nationalist politics, they are always concerned with the place of the diaspora in relation to the nation. In that regard, it can be said that diaspora politics – and the actors taking part in them – play a role in processes of nation-production, insofar as they contribute to the conservation or modifications of the principles of visions and divisions of the national world. Although diaspora politics have been an important feature of Hungarian politics for almost thirty years, the establishment of a Fidesz-KDNP government in 2010 constitutes a key moment in the development of Hungarian diaspora politics. The new government seized the pre-existing diaspora political institutions and developed a wide range of new laws, programmes, and institutions representing the Hungarian diaspora as embedded into the wider Hungarian nation. Drawing upon Pierre Bourdieu’s key political concepts, this thesis inquires how Hungarian diaspora politics between 2010 and 2019 have contributed to the production and reproduction of Hungarian national di/visions. Through an analysis of major laws, documents, institutions, programmes, and publications related to Hungarian diaspora politics between 2010 and 2019, it is argued that the development of a new legal and institutional framework for Hungarian diaspora politics since 2010 has provided the means to produce, reproduce, and legitimate the integration and dissolution of the diaspora in a redefined Hungarian nation. Furthermore, taking as a case study the journal Minority Studies edited by the Research Institute for Hungarian Communities Abroad (NPKI) between 2013 and 2016, this thesis contends that this diaspora integration has taken place through the redefinition of the boundaries of the national world. Specifically, the production of a renewed Hungarian nation has been permitted by the representations of historical, cultural, and political principles of national di/visions.