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  • 1 City University of New York Graduate Center New York USA
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The Critical Mass bicycle movement, whose main aim is to reclaim cyclists’ right to use city streets freely, safely and proudly, is arguably the single most powerful grassroots movement that has emerged in Hungary since the 1989 change of regimes. While Critical Mass is a critique of today’s dominant motorized transportation practices as well as a celebration of alternative modes of transportation, it is not only about the environment. The Budapest Critical Mass can be read as the spatialized enactment of a direct and embodied form of democratic participation that goes beyond and at the same time transforms representative democracy. In the context of growing political apathy and widespread disillusionment with the formal public sphere in post-socialist Hungary, Critical Mass has emerged as a unique and powerful channel of citizen participation by forging a new kind of relationship between citizens, civil society and the state.

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