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  • 1 Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary Coordinator, Social Theory Research Group, Institute of Political History,, Budapest, Hungary
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According to Cas Mudde, we live in a “populist Zeitgeist”. The paper argues that not just the 21st, but also the 20th century is about populism. In the first section I elaborate the theoretical background of populism, which is claimed to be a never-ending phenomenon: here, various notions of populism are analysed; I investigate the relationship between democracy and populism; and I refer to the biopolitical framework of populism (called biopopulism) as well. This theoretical framework will be used to analyse Communist populism in Hungary. I elaborate the populism of the Horthyera (1920-1944) in the context of Communist populism. Then I analyse the case of Communist populism in Hungary (1948-1989) according to the following aspects: in the context of the working class and the bourgeois elite; the biopolitical character of the regime; goulash Communism as populist legitimacy; and the viewpoint of socialist patriotism. The main aspect of Communist populism is summarized at the end of the third section, and I briefly refer to the afterlife of Communist populism as a nostalgic phenomenon. The regimes analysed in this study aimed to govern the entire life of the citizens, which is why biopopulism is a useful analytical concept. The biopopulist framework shows that the investigation of the historical backgrounds of populism is necessary to understand contemporary populist tendencies.

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