Hungary’s illiberal border politics and the exploitation of social, spatial and temporal distinctions

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Scott, James Wesley
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Previous research on Hungarian right-wing populism has documented how the present government has identified different groups and individuals as threats to innate national interests and values, drawing distinctions between the ‘nation’, illegal migrants, non-heteronormative persons, liberal enemies in Brussels, George Soros and others. At the same time, the Orbán government has exploited the country’s internal divisions which, for example, reflect longstanding contestations between liberal and conservative understandings of national identity and purpose. Employing a critical border studies perspective, this article explores Hungary’s illiberal practices of socio-cultural, spatial and temporal border-making. These are central to Hungary’s project of ‘illiberal democracy’ and the forging of a political environment that marginalizes alternative viewpoints and that extends into the organization of civil society and everyday life. European dimensions of the Hungarian regime’s border politics are also briefly discussed in terms of evoking liberal-conservative divides and Hungary’s claims for greater national recognition as a defender of Europe’s Christian heritage. In the concluding section, the potential significance of Hungarian illiberal politics in terms of an erosion of social cohesion both nationally and within the European Union will be considered.
határok - Magyarország , határpolitika , illiberalizmus
European Urban and Regional Studies 31:(1) pp. 14-28. (2024)