Cultural Policy in an Illiberal State
A Case Study of Hungary after 2010
In social sciences literature, numerous attempts have been made to capture the political essence and features of Hungary’s ‘illiberal’ regime but few were aimed at analyzing specific public policy fields in the illiberal democracy. This paper analyses the cultural policy of the Orbán regime, focusing on the role of ideology. A qualitative case study based on document analysis looks at the legitimizing function of post-communist traditionalism in a managed illiberal democracy (Csillag and Szelényi, 2015). Governmental policy making in the field of culture is analyzed on two interrelated levels: (1) attempts to rewrite the cultural canon, and (2) institutional and financial changes. The results show that post-communist traditionalism serves as a discursive framework for the partial replacement of the cultural elite as well as the redistribution of cultural positions and resources, thus contributing to the creation of a new, loyal elite for the managed illiberal political system.
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