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  • Author or Editor: Gábor Gyáni x
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In the paper we seek to trace and better understand the surprising sociological components of the '56 revolution. The paradox lying in the heart of the revolutionary events concerns the fact that the social groups most closely involved in the political mobilization included the formerly faithful communist, later “revisionist”intellectuals, the university students and the industrial working class. They had previously been considered as the primary social basis and legitimation force of the communist political regime. Still, they were to become the main motor of initiating the disobedience almost before 23rd of October and, in addition, “did the revolution”thereafter. What could be the reason of their discontent causing the first “revolutionary”schock to a political regime which regularly defined and declared itself to embody the social(ist) revolution? The explanation is based on a sociological consideration (the mobility trap) combined with a psychological reasoning (the sense of guilt, the bitter feeling of being deceived, and the unfulfilled expectations) and the whole argument will be placed into the specific historical context specified either by Hungary's road from '53 to '56, and the global developments of the communist world in the course of 1956.

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The contradictory process and the ambivalent result of Jewish assimilation in Hungary between 1867 and 1944 were shaped both by the Neolog-Orthodox duality and the fast acculturation of the Neolog Jewry. The image persistently attached to the Jew in Hungary, the basis of any sort of anti-Semitism, was the denominational bound Jewishness; the identity created and sustained mainly by the urban Neolog Jewish bourgeoisie was, however, definitely Magyar. When image and identity came to be confronted with each other, then political anti-Semitism could get a firm footing; this had happened from just around the late nineteenth and especially the beginning of the twentieth century. Still, there is more than simply a continuity between the form of anti-Semitism characterizing the age of Dualism and the one accompanying the interwar period, when it even became a state policy. The former was rooted in the mental construction of a cultural code, while the latter was most closely associated with the cognitive construction of political code. This also meant that while the former was exclusively carried by some social movements hostile to the issue of Jewish assimilation, the latter led to rigid state discrimination applied against all those the image of whom was identified with Jewishness.

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