Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-nmvwc Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-22T13:39:33.728Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Memory-Politics and Neonationalism: Trianon as Mythomoteur

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2020

Margit Feischmidt*
Affiliation:
Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Research Center for Social Sciences, Minority Studies Institute, Budapest, Hungary
*
*Corresponding author. Email: feischmidt.margit@tk.mta.hu

Abstract

Analyzing the newly emerged Trianon cult, this article argues that the current wave of memory politics became the engine of new forms of nationalism in Hungary constituted by extremist and moderate right-wing civic and political actors. Following social anthropologists Gingrich and Banks, the term neonationalism will be applied and linked with the concept “mythomoteur” of John Armstrong and Anthony D. Smith, emphasizing the role of preexisting ethno-symbolic resources or mythomoteurs in the resurgence of nationalism. Special attention will be given to elites who play a major role in constructing new discourses of the nation and seek to control collective memories, taking their diverse intentions, agendas, and strategies specifically into consideration. This “view from above” will be complemented with a “view from below” by investigating the meanings that audiences give to and the uses they make of these memories. Thus, the analysis has three dimensions: it starts with the analysis of symbols, topics, and arguments applied by public Trianon discourses; it continues with the analysis of everyday perceptions, memory, and identity concerns; and finally ends with an anthropological interpretation of memory politics regarding a new form of nationalism arising in the context of propelling and mainstreaming populist right-wing politics. The main argument of this article is that although the Hungarian Trianon cult, identified as national mythomoteur, invokes a historical trauma, it rather speaks to current feelings of loss and disenfranchisement, offering symbolic compensation through the transference of historical glory, pride, and self-esteem within a mythological framework. This article is part of a larger effort to understand the cultural logic and social support of new forms of nationalism in Hungary propelled by the populist far right.

Type
Article
Copyright
© Association for the Study of Nationalities 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Ablonczy, Bálint. 2010. Trianon-legendák [Legends of Trianon]. Budapest: Jaffa.Google Scholar
Ablonczy, Balázs. 2008. Trténelmi Magyarország: az emlékezés matricája (Historical Hungary: the sticker of Memory). http://www.komment.hu/tartalom/20081008-velemeny-nagymagyarorszag-autos-matricak.html. (Accessed October 15, 2019.)Google Scholar
Ange, Olivia, and Berliner, David. 2015. Anthropology and Nostalgia. New York: Berghahn.Google Scholar
Armstrong, John. 1982. Nations before Nationalism. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
Çinar, Alev, and Has, Hakki. 2017. “Politics of Nationhood and the Displacement of the Founding Moment: Contending Histories of the Turkish Nation.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 59 (3): 657689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berdahl, Daphne. 2010. On the Social Life of Postsocialism: Memory, Consumption, Germany. Edited by Bunzl, Matti. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
Brubaker, Rogers, and Feischmidt, Margit. 2002. “1848 in 1998: The Politics of Commemoration in Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 44 (4): 700744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Colovic, Ivan. 2002. The Politics of Symbol in Serbia: Essays on Political Anthropology. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
Feischmidt, Margit. 2014. “A nemzet varázsa és a jobboldali szimpátia fiatalok körében” [The Magic of the Nation and the Far-right Simpathy among the Hungarian Youth]. In Nemzet a Mindennapokban: A Nacionalizmus Populáris Kultºrája [Everyday Nationalism: The Popular Culture of Nationalism], edited by Feischmidt, Margit, Glózer, Rita, Kasznár, Katalin, Ilyés, Zoltán, and Zakariás, Ildikó, 52139. Budapest: L’Harmattan–MTA Társadalomtudományi Kutatóközpont.Google Scholar
Feischmidt, Margit, and Pulay, Gergő. 2017. “Rocking the Nation: The Popular Culture of Neo-Nationalism .” Nations and Nationalism 23 (2): 309326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fox, Jon E. and Miller-Idriss , Cynthia. 2008. “Everyday Nationhood.” Ethnicities 8 (4): 536563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gal, Susan. 1991. “Bartók’s Funeral: Representations of Europe in Hungarian Political Rhetoric. Representations of Europe: Transforming State, Society, and Identity.” American Ethnologist 18 (4): 440458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gingrich, Andre, and Banks, Marcus. 2006. Neo-Nationalism in Europe and Beyond: Perspectives from Social Anthropology. New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
Gyáni, Gábor. 1993. “Political Uses of Tradition in Post-Communist East Central EuropeSocial Research 60 (4): 893913.Google Scholar
Gyáni, Gábor. 2012a. “A magyar emlékezet helyei és a traumatikus múlt” [“The Hungarian Lieux de Memoire and the Traumatic Past”]. Studia Literaria 2012 (1–2): 4150.Google Scholar
Gyáni, Gábor. 2012b. “The Memory of Trianon as a Political Instrument in Hungary Today.” In The Convolutions of Historical Politics, edited by Miller, Alexei and Lipman, Maria, 91115. Budapest: Central European University Press.Google Scholar
Hann, Chris. 1990. “Socialism and King Stephen’s Right Hand.” Religion in Communist Lands 18 (1): 424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hann, Chris. 2015. “Why Postimperial Trumps Postsocialist: Crying Back the National Past in Hungary.” In Anthropology of Nostalgia: Ethnographic Studies, edited by Ange, Olivia and David Berliner, 96121. New York: Berghahn.Google Scholar
Hofer, Tamás. 1992. “Harc a rendszerváltásért szimbolikus mezőben” 1989. [“Fight over the System Change in Symbolic Dimension”]. Politikatudományi Szemle 1992 (1): 2951.Google Scholar
Kalb, Don. 2011. “Introduction. Headlines of Nation, Subtexts of Class: Working Class Populism and the Return of the Repressed in Neoliberal Europe.” Headlines of Nation, Subtexts of Class: Working Class Populism and the Return of the Repressed in Neoliberal Europe, edited by Kalb, Don and Halmai, Gábor, 135. New York: Berghahn.Google Scholar
Kovács, Éva. 2010. “Trianon traumatikus emlékezetéről” [“About the Traumatic Memory of Trianon”]. Limes 4: 4756.Google Scholar
Michela, Miroslav, and Zahorán, Csaba, eds. 2010. “Magyarország felbomlása és a trianoni békeszerződés a magyar és a szlovák kollektív emlékezetben (1918–2010)” (“Distribution of Hungary and the Trianon Treaty in the Hungarian and Slovak Collective Memory”) Limes 4.Google Scholar
Olick, Jeffrey K., and Robbins, Joyce. 1998. “Social Memory Studies: From ‘Collective Memory’ to the Historical Sociology of Mnemonic Practices.” Annual Review of Sociology 24: 105140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Romsics, Gergely. 2006. “Trianon a Házban: A Trianon-fogalom megjelenése és funkciói a pártok diskurzusaiban az első három parlamenti ciklus idején (1990–2002)” [“Trianon in the Parliament: Trianon in the Discourse of Political Parties During the First Three Parliamental Periods”]. In Az emlékezet konstrukciói: Példák a 19–20. századi magyar és közép-európai történelemből. [Construction of Memory: Examples from the 19th and 20th Century History of Central Europe], edited by Gábor, Czoch and Csilla, Fedinecz, 3552. Budapest: Teleki László Alapítvány.Google Scholar
Romsics, Ignác. 2010. “Trianon és a magyar politikai gondolkodás.” Limes 4: 716.Google Scholar
Sólyom, László. 2010. Beszédek (Speeches). http://www.solyomlaszlo.hu/beszedek.html.Google Scholar
Smith, Anthony D. 1988. The Ethnic Origins of Nations. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Smith, Anthony D. 1999. “The Resurgence of Nationalism? Myth and Memory in the Renewal of Nations.” In Myths and Memories of Nations, edited by Smith, Anthony D., 253281. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Smith, Anthony. 2011. “National Identity and Vernacular Mobilisation in Europe.” Nations and Nationalism 17 (2): 223256.10.1111/j.1469-8129.2011.00491.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Szidiropulosz, Archimédesz. 2004. Trianon utóélete. A magyar társadalom Trianon-képe az ezredfordulón [The Afterlife of Trianon: The Trianon-Image of the Hungarian Society at the Turn of the Century]. Budapest: Kairosz.Google Scholar
Thorleifsson, Catherine. 2017. “Disposable Strangers: Far Right Securitisation of Migration in Hungary.” Social Anthropology 25 (3): 318334.10.1111/1469-8676.12420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Todorova, Maria, and Gille, Zsuzsa, eds. 2010. Post-Communist Nostalgia. New York: Berghahn Books.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vásárhelyi, Mária. 2007. Csalóka emlékezet: A 20. század történelme a magyar közgondolkodásban. [The History of 20th Century in the Hungarian Collective Memory]. Bratislava: Kalligram.Google Scholar
Verdery, K. 1999. The Political Lives of Dead Bodies: Reburial and Postsocialist Change. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Wodak, Ruth, de Cillia, Rudolf, Reisigl, Martin, and Liebhart, Karin. 2009. The Discursive Construction of National Identity, 2nd ed. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
Zeidler, Miklós. 2002. A magyar irredenta kultusz a két világháború között [The Cult of Irredentism in the Interwar Period]. Budapest: Regio.Google Scholar
Zeidler, Miklós, ed. 2003. Trianon—Nemzet és Emlékezet [Trianon—Nation and Memory]. Budapest: Osiris.Google Scholar
Zeidler, Miklós. 2010. A revíziós gondolat [The Revisionist Thought]). Bratislava: Kaligram.Google Scholar
Zempléni, András. 2002. “Sepulchral Land and Territory of the Nation: Reburial Rituals in Contemporary Hungary.” In A nemzet antropológiája [The Anthropology of the Nation], edited by Gergely, András A., 7580. Budapest: Új Mandátum.Google Scholar
Zubrzycki, Genevieve. 2006. The Crosses of Auschwitz. Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zubrzycki, Genevieve. 2011. “History and the National Sensorium: Making Sense of Polish Mythology.” Qualitative Sociology 34: 2157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar