Saturday, April 9, 2022

Attila Antal: Hungary in State of Exception

My book, Hungary in State of Exception. Authoritarian Neoliberalism from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy to the COVID-19 Crisis, is forthcoming from Lexington Books, part of Rowman and Littlefield.


Hungary in State of Exception seeks to analyze the transboundary exchange of political and economic ideas through the global neoliberal hegemonic struggle. Neoliberalism, as a economic and political ideology, defined the history of Hungary not just in the 21st century, but in the troubled 20th century. Eastern Europe played a crucial role in neoliberalism’s rise to control globalized capitalism, and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have constantly an incubator of and experimental laboratory for new types of neoliberal capitalism. Antal arguesthat neoliberalism, like populism, is historically embedded in Hungarian political history, its the political form is economic and governmental exceptionalism. This book reveals the common history of Western- and Eastern-style neoliberalism from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the contemporary COVID-19 crisis. Without emphasis on the century of neoliberalization of CEE, the contemporary rise of regional authoritarianism cannot be understood. Antal also details the relationship between Orbán’s rise and contemporary neoliberal politics in CEE.

Table of contents:

Introduction: Historically Embedded Neoliberalism and Exceptional Measures in Hungary

Chapter 1: The Neoliberalism as a Permanent State of Exception

Chapter 2 The Heritage of the Habsburg Empire: The Historical Impact of Neoliberalism

Chapter 3 Neoliberalization of State Socialism

Chapter 4 The Neoliberalization of 1989 and the Collapse of System of Regime Change

Chapter 5 Authoritarian Populism, Neoliberalism and Exceptional Measures

Conclusion: The Semi-Peripheral Fate: Neoliberalism and Authoritarian Populism


MPSA Conference 2022: Emergency Governance in Hungary and the COVID-19



We live in an era of overlapping states of exceptions: the climate and ecological emergency, the permanent crisis of global capitalism, the migration crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic. Relying on the Hungarian political system, this paper investigates how and why exceptional measures restructure our life. Against the background of the current Hungarian authoritarian populist regime, municipal experiences, and other contemporary tendencies, three main forms of states of exceptions are investigated: (1) the exceptionality of the migration crisis of 2015; (2) the climate emergencies declared by local governments, which are rather political declarations and not legally accepted versions of exceptional measures; (3) the overlapping forms of COVID-19-related emergencies. It can be argued that the main outcome of the exceptional measures is the rise of a new executive power, and it is demonstrated how heavily authoritarian regimes rely on the state of exception. Amplifying the authoritarian tendencies and the abusive application of the exceptional legal order, the COVID-19 crisis basically proved that it is worth considering institutionalizing the climate and ecological emergency as a tool in the struggle of resolving the planetary crisis of our time.


This lecture is a part of my research project "The State of Emergency in the Era of Global Ecological and Pandemic Crisis" (financed by National Research, Development and Innovation Office Postdoctoral Excellence Programme of Hungary, ID-number: 139007, hosting institution: ELTE Faculty of Law). More details on this project: https://www.stateofemergency.hu/

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Summary of the research and purpose of the site: "The State of Emergency in the Era of Global Ecological and Pandemic Crisis"

The aim of the project is to examine the basic characteristics and contexts of state of emergency, governance based on extraordinary measures in the age of ecological and climate emergency. Due to the global ecological and climate crisis, we have reached an era of state of emergency. The COVID-19 caused devastating health, political, economic and social crises. The research aims to investigate the relationship between the state of emergency and global crises in a pioneering way, the analyses of the coronavirus, as the most comprehensive manifestation of the global crisis, is considered here as a case study. This research explores when and how the extraordinary legal order has been used by the pre-COVID-19 political systems and to provide a comprehensive analysis of what the main paradigm and function of the extraordinary legal order was, covering the constitutional systems of the North Atlantic and Asia. Such a summary of this is still missing from the Hungarian legal and political science literature. Another major goal of the research is to conduct a “stress test” of legal and political systems related to the COVID-19 crisis. I look at how the world’s political and legal systems have responded to the coronavirus crisis, where and when they introduced an extraordinary legal order, what it has resulted in, and what its social and political implications have been. This would be the first Hungarian-language monographic summary on the topic and would be an important added value both for the Hungarian theoretical literature and for political practice. I will examine what the role and fate of the state of emergency will be in the era of global ecological and climate emergency.

A detailed summary of the research can be found here in English and Hungarian, and a preliminary bibliography is available here.

The site aims to provide up-to-date information on research results, events and publications.