Treating people as equals is one of the main aims of constitutional democracies. Numerous examples prove the adverse effects if a state violates the equality principles relating to ethnic minorities and religious groups. Here is a lesson from Hungary. The Hungarian Constitutional Court (hereinafter: HCC) is not engaged in adjudicating concrete ‘cases and controversies’, but seemingly reviews the constitutionality of laws. The Constitution lays down the fundamental tenets relating to religious groups, churches, ethnic minorities and the principles of equality in general. Thus, the question is how the problems of religions and minorities are reflected in the constitutional case-law.The main theses of this article are following. First, based on historical facts the HCC provides preferential treatment for so-called historical churches. Second, in cases involving Roma the HCC does not consider the historical facts and social reality thus, the discrimination of Roma does not appear in the jurisprudence. Third, the unequal protection of churches and Roma by the state results in advantages being provided where the constitutional reasons of preferential treatment are absent while the state remains inactive where the promotion of the principles of equality would be most necessary.
The Central European countries have been constitutional democracies for two decades. They were created by the political and constitutional transition of 1989, which was based upon the acknowledgment of fundamental rights and the rule of law. Timothy Garton Ash has argued that the peaceful, negotiated regime changes in Central Europe established a new model of non-violent revolution. The year 1989 became the major historical reference point for this kind of change. However, more than twenty years later, in the light of antidemocratic, authoritarian and intolerant tendencies, it is far from clear whether the negotiated revolution is a story of success or failure. This paper first outlines the constitutional and political background of revolutionary transition. It shows that uneasy compromises with members of the ancien régime were an unavoidable part of the peaceful transition. Nevertheless, the achieved constitutional structures and rules do not prevent political communities from realising the full promise of democracy. Second, this analysis attempts to explore, through the use of examples, how the century-old historical circumstances, the social environment, and the commonly failed practice of constitutional institutions interact. The goal of this section is to highlight some of the differences between universal principles and local peculiarities, focusing particularly on the constitutional features of presidential aspirations, the privileges of churches and certain ethnic tensions. The way the authorities apply the constitution is not detached from place and time, since those authorities possess culturally and historically predetermined knowledge and premises. Thus, we can say that antidemocratic, authoritarian and intolerant political and legal tendencies are embedded in the past and present of political communities. Finally, the paper argues that the chances of success of liberal democracies depend significantly on extraconstitutional factors. It seems that Hungary is in a more depressing and dangerous period of its history than for example Poland. The future of Central European constitutional democracies relies on the actions of people in the countries concerned and the commitment of Western societies.
the low level of labor market participation, leading to persistent poverty. Romapeople are most exposed to poverty in Hungarian society: they are twice or thrice more likely to become poor than non-Roma ( Bernat, 2014 ).
The disadvantage is
In 1977, there was a one-time forced bathing of Roma people in the Pest county village, the subject of this article. Seemingly, no memory of the event has survived within the Romungro community: the villagers do not remember if Roma people were ever forced to submit to bathing. There is more than one reason for this: first, after the first occasion the authorities abandoned the idea, therefore its one-time memory has faded away over time. Second, because of its shameful connotation the participants were unwilling to talk about it. They did not talk about it since it could have evoked the memory of the “dirty Roma” in a community where purity and dirtiness are basic mental categories. Through concepts used by the community concerning purity and order this article explores what local Roma think about the forced bathing of the past. It examines how they conceive those events which seem to have no memory in the community.
Roma people are often depicted in Central European literature and fine arts in the end of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century. The topic was likely chosen not only because of an ethnographical interest, but also because orientalism in the nineteenth century meant for several Austrian artists the depiction of the life and customs of Hungarian and Transylvanian gypsies, who were believed to be originally from the East. In the second half of the century August Pettenkofen, who had often visited the town of Szolnok in the Great Hungarian Plain with his painter friends, also turned to the ‘exotic’ life of Hungarian peasants, csikós (horse-herdsmen) and nomadic gypsies. The artists of genre artworks depicting the folk, a genre flourishing in Hungary since the middle of the nineteenth century, also often choose the life and customs of Roma people as the topic of their art, usually presenting them in a detailed way and using stereotypes.
This study examines a different kind of depiction of Roma people in the nineteenth century in literature, artworks and music. The so-called ‘Three gypsies’ topic is currently believed to have appeared for the first time in 1836 in Ferenc Pongrácz’s painting, however, it became truly popular because of Nikolaus Lenau’s poem, which had a title similar to the painting’s and was published soon after the painting. The topic appears in several contemporary paintings and illustrations, and Ferenc Liszt also created a musical composition based on it. Lenau’s poem and the artworks inspired by it include a certain symbolical-philosophical approach instead of the ethnographic interest popular at the time or the anecdotical depiction of the everyday life of Roma people. The image of the three gypsies in the poem and the artworks and illustrations – the first one is playing a fiddle, the second one is smoking a pipe and the third one is sleeping – symbolizes not only the longing for a poor but free life without the yoke of social norms, but also illustrates different attitudes and philosophies of life (vita activa, vita contemplativa, turning away from the world).
The symbolical-philosophical nature of the poem and the artworks is emphasized by a significant part of these works, the motif of the instrument hung upon a tree, which first appears in Psalm 137 from the Old Testament. The psalm depicts the pain of the Jews suffering in the Babylonian captivity, who in their sorrow hung their harps upon the willows. The song about the sadness felt because of their exile and the loss of their home was later interpreted in the context of those times. The heartbreaking description of the destroyed home of the exiled Jews in János Thordai’s psalm written in the seventeenth century was likely inspired by the grief caused by the destruction of Hungary during the Ottoman rule. The motif of the instruments hung upon the tree, earlier related to society and nation, was enriched with new, individualistic meanings during the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century.
The depictions of the atypical Three gypsies topic in literature and fine arts are more closely related to allegorical paintings from earlier centuries, for example Giorgone’s The Three Philosophers or The Three Ages of Man, than to the genre artworks in the nineteenth century depicting the life of Roma people in an anecdotal way.
Authors:Orsolya Keresztes-Takács, Lilla Lendvai, and Anna Kende
A rendszerváltást követő első években erősödött a romaellenesség Magyarországon, de néhány évvel később már csökkentést tapasztalhatunk az elutasítás nyílt kifejeződésében. A kétezres évektől a fokozódó társadalmi, majd gazdasági válság révén kialakult feszültségek hatására az előítéletesség mértéke újra növekedni kezdett.
Kutatásunkban arra kerestük a választ, hogy ma a magyar társadalom tagjai milyen attitűdökkel rendelkeznek a romákkal kapcsolatban. Célunk az volt, hogy egy online, illesztett reprezentatív mintán (N = 1005) kérdőív segítségével felmérjük, milyen arányban határozzák meg a romákkal szembeni elfogadáselutasítás mértékét az előítéletességre való hajlam mellett a demográfiai változók, a politikai orientáció és nemzeti identitás vagy a konkrét csoportnak tulajdonított attribútumok.
A korábbi kutatásokkal ellentétben eredményeink a demográfiai tényezők, a politikai orientáció és a nemzeti identitás másodlagos szerepét mutatták ki, míg a csoportnak tulajdonított felelősség és entitativitás kiemelkedő szerepet kapott a romákkal szembeni elutasítás mértékének bejóslásában.
Megállapíthatjuk, hogy a romákkal szembeni elutasítás annyira elterjedtté vált, kifejezése oly felszabadult és nyílt, hogy az előítéletességgel általában összefüggő tényezők alapján a romaellenesség nem bejósolható. A romákkal szembeni előítéletek csökkentésére irányuló törekvéseknek tehát figyelembe kell venniük, hogy ma Magyarországon a romaellenesség nem ütközik morális akadályokba, így gyakorlatilag a társadalom minden rétegében magas értéket mutat, akár egy általános egalitáriánus értékrend mellett is.
Authors:Mihály Fónai, Gergely Fábián, Éva Filepné Nagy, and Mariann Pénzes
The results of our empirical researches carried out in North-East Hungarian region is analyzed and compared with national and international experiences. During last decade, we examined social and health status of Gipsy/Roma people living in this region in frame of researches, two of them were proceed at county, others at settlement level. We present our results grouped around three problems, which gives a chance for empirical testing of hypothesis of other researches reflected on this problems. Typical sample’s characteristics of Hajdúböszörmény study made feasible to analyze the statements on correlation between underclass situation and ethnicity. Our results proved the statement that the poverty makes ethnical feature but not only Roma can be ranked among underclassed. In our study we deeply analyze coherence of ethnicity and poverty; besides of income poverty we touch the housing poverty, deprivation in wealth and living conditions, and the problems of social-political poverty. The health state was studied through the subjective health picture, utilization of the health care system, satisfaction with care services and the list of most frequently complaints, diseases.We aspired in our study to give structural and cultural explanation of examined phenomenon, moreover to present correlations, although because of research methods we rather analyzed successes of structural effects.
The research basis is provided by the project Povetry, Ethnicity, Gender in Transitional Societies implemented under the leadership of Professor Iván Szeláényi in six countries of he former Eastern block in 1999-2000. The data have confirmed the initial assumption of the study: new poverty is being born, which is not an element of the life cycle of the individual but rather a socio-economic dependence affecting entire groups of people. The socio-biological factors (age, gender, children) are not pushed away but are rather transformed by the new dominant. The new socio-economic context even reinforces their effect, especially in osme countries. A new, unexpected phenomenon is the formation of an age underclass in Southeast and Russia. All the countriessurveyed, except for Poland, exhibit symptoms of poverty feminization. The number of children in a family is a primordial factor bearing on the family budget. However, the stringest dependence is ethnicity-based. The poverty of Roma in Southeast Europe is catastrophic and separates them into an ethnic underclass. Roma people in Hungary are losers as well but their poverty has a different macro-economic backdrop. The differentia specifica of the research topic itself: it is not a static situation but a process in which reason and effect change places, a process that both shapes and is affected by the social structure. In parallel to the liberalization of economic initiative, powerful destructive processes are under way tear the old social connections apart and turn the social atatus of immense groups of people upside down. the former middle layers are layered further. The income below avarage is the common denominator for many of them (in Central Europe) or for the majority (southeast Europe and Russia), in contrast to the avarage income before. It could be foreseen that povetry will be irreversible for many and would entail declassation. This is already a fact for ethnic minorites in Southeast Europe and for elderly people there and in Russia. The further dynamics of the process could be traced at a new stage of the study.
Authors:Ibolya Hegedűs, Veronika Morvai, Péter Rudnai, Éva Szakmáry, András Paksy, and György Ungváry
emberi és politikai jogai.] Új Mandátum Könyvkiadó, Budapest, 2005. [Hungarian]
Polónyi, I.: Situation of demography, education and employment of Romapeople. [A cigány népesség demográfiai, iskolázottsági és
Authors:Péter Balázs, Andrea Fogarasi-Grenczer, Ildikó Rákóczi, and Kristie L. Foley
. Am. J. Public Health, 2007, 97 (5), 853–859.
Vokó, Z., Csépe, P., Németh, R., et al.: Does socioeconomic status fully mediate the effect of ethnicity on the health of Romapeople in Hungary? J. Epidemiol