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 paper was prepared and within the postdoc project “The State of Emergency in the Era of Global Ecological and Pandemic Crisis” financed by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office, Postdoctoral Excellence Program of Hungary, ID-number: 139007, hosting institution: ELTE Faculty of Law and the János Bolyai Research Scholarship, Hungarian Academy of Science.