Recent Submissions

  • Remaking civil society under authoritarian capitalism. The case of the Orbán regime’s Hungarian Academy of Arts

    Nagy, Kristóf; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (2024)
    Authoritarian regimes are known for their attacks on civic organizations; however, this article demonstrates how such rules also set up and operate new forms of civil society. Drawing on a year-long ethnographic fieldwork at the cultural flagship institution of the Orbán-regime, the Hungarian Academy of Arts (HAA), this research engages with civic organizations often labeled as ‘uncivil,’ ‘dark,’ or ‘illiberal.’ Instead of applying the normative notion of civil society, it joins a century-long body of literature that, following Gramsci, stresses the integral nature of political and civil society. The article contributes to this research trajectory by spotlighting a new hegemonic regime’s dynamic remaking of civil society. The article conceptualizes the process of remaking civil society and reveals four facets beyond top-down command (1) the making of clientelist social relations that affect both the privileged and the rank-and-file actors, (2) the managed articulation of dissent toward the regime that pacifies discontent (3) the relative autonomy of regime-allied civic organizations and (4) the orchestration of pre-existing bottom-up initiatives. By coining the concept of recivilization, this article contributes to understanding how emerging regimes remake civil society and mobilize voluntary social practices to maintain their rule. Through this understanding, this article highlights that authoritarianism is more than top-down ruling and suggests the novel notion of recivilization as a concept to capture the pro-systemic role of civil society.
  • Az eladás elég jó poszt-avantgárd eszme? A Rabinec Stúdió és a művészet áruvá válása az 1980-as években

    Nagy, Kristóf; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (exindex: Contemporary Art Magazine, 2024)
  • The ‘Post’ in Perspective: Revisiting the Post-socialist Religious Question in Central Asia and Central and Eastern Europe

    McBrien, Julie; Naumescu, Vlad; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Open Book Publishers, 2022)
  • Review of The Postsocialist Contemporary: The Institutionalization of Artistic Practice in Eastern Europe after 1989, written by Octavian, Esanu

    Nagy, Kristóf; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Brill | Schöningh, 2023)
    Book review: Octavian Esanu. The Postsocialist Contemporary: The Institutionalization of Artistic Practice in Eastern Europe after 1989. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2021. 288 pp. ISBN 9781526158000. Language: English.
  • Culture Wars as Property Struggles: The Hungarian Academy of Arts in Post-1989 Hungary

    Nagy, Kristóf; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Penn State University Press, 2023)
    While property is a common analytical category in political economy, it is often omitted from cultural analysis. To bridge this gap, this article examines the Orbán regime’s cultural flagship institution, the Magyar Művészeti Akadémia [Hungarian Academy of Arts, HAA] from a property perspective. By putting the 1992‒2011 trajectory of the Academy under a spotlight, a rarely examined prehistory of the current Orbán regime comes to the fore. By deploying historical and social sciences literature alongside archival and interview-based primary research, it is here argued that the property perspective can transcend the “culture wars” explanations of postsocialist cultural polarization by highlighting the material roots of such conflicts. The case of the HAA serves to demonstrate that its cultural clashes were property struggles to obtain properties from the postsocialist state. In this quest, the Academy formed an uneven alliance with the national- protectionist elite bloc. By demonstrating how the HAA was bound to the competition of postsocialist elite blocs, its cyclical politicization can be best understood from the angle of the rapidly transforming property regime in post-1989 Hungary. In conclusion, the article proposes the postsocialist property regime of culture as a framework to analyze cultural and property clashes in tandem.
  • Bellah’s Durkheim: A fruitful reinvention?

    Fabiani, Jean-Louis (Springer, 2023-07-05)
    The contribution is based on Robert Bellah’s introduction to Emile Durkheim on Morality and Society (1973) and second on other references to the French sociologist in Bellah’s work as well as in Bortolini’s insightful remarks on the “homology” between Durkheim and Bellah. The publication of the book took place in a time of Durkheimian effervescence: Steven Lukes’ Emile Durkheim. His Life and Work was published on the same year and a new Durkheimology appeared in the English-speaking world: attention shifted from methodology, as expressed in Suicide or in the Rules of Sociological Method, to morality with a focus on the moral basis on a non-pathological society. Bellah’s statement is quite strong: Durkheim can “be seen as a theologian of French civil religion”. The paper will examine this point of view with respect to the state of French society at the turn of the century and Durkheim’s social project. One side question concerns the choice of texts: the editor did not give enough weight to texts that might have strengthen Bellah’s point of view, particularly l’Education morale. Bortolini mentions Bob’s long and silent work on Durkheim and his critique of mainstream analysis of The Elementary forms of Religious Life, reducing religion to a mere projection of society (:142). The biographer insists on the ambivalent, if not contradictory, vision of Durkheim in Bellah’s work, in which he finds a key to the interpretation of the oeuvre. The article focuses on how to account for its complexity, which is never as clear as in the interpretation of Durkheim’s sociology in a post-rationalist direction. Bortolini’s concept of role model/hero incarnated by the founding fathers (here Weber and Durkheim) is analyzed in connection with Parsons’ reconstitution of a pantheon. The question of civil religion is reexamined in the light of the transatlantic transfers carrying different meanings of civil religion.
  • Hukou stratification, class structure, and earnings in transitional China

    Wu, Qiong (Miranda); Wallace, Michael; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Taylor & Francis, 2021)
    The massive economic transformation in China has triggered a vigorous scholarly debate on whether the persistent power of the state or the increasing market liberalization is the main driving force of inequality. In this article, we attempt to understand this debate through the lens of two coexisting stratification systems––the longstanding hukou (household registration) system and an emerging class structure. Using data from the Chinese General Social Survey from 2008 to 2015, we develop new typologies for hukou stratification and class structure and examine their relative contributions in determining workers’ earnings. We further investigate differences in their effects between the Inland and Coastal regions. We find that class ranks ahead of education and hukou as the strongest determinant of earnings in China as a whole. Regionally, hukou and class are strong determinants of earnings, but hukou has a relatively stronger effect in Inland China. The findings shed light on the changing stratification dynamics in transitional China and contribute to the literature on the market transition debate.
  • Social Networks and Workers’ Earnings in Contemporary China

    Wu, Qiong (Miranda); Wallace, Michael; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Springer, 2021)
    Guanxi is the central form of social capital in Chinese society that provides access to resources, assets, and benefits that facilitate social status and social mobility. Substantial empirical research has documented the importance of guanxi networks in accessing resources for getting good jobs, moving up to better jobs, and achieving higher wages. Chinese Lunar New Year is a special occasion of cultural and social significance to cultivate and maintain guanxi networks. We thus conceptualize guanxi networks as the visiting networks during the Chinese New Year celebration. Using the 2008 Chinese General Social Survey, we construct five measures of the Chinese New Year greeting networks and assess their impact on workers’ earnings as well as gender differences in their effects on earnings. We also consider two major structural constraints—the hukou and social class—that affect the extent of one’s social networks and earnings. Our findings not only confirm the overall positive effects of the Chinese New Year greeting networks on earnings but also offer nuances that enhance the understanding of how guanxi networks as a manifestation of social capital embedded in Chinese traditional culture work in the contemporary era and intensify gender gaps.
  • Social stratification and housing inequality in transitional urban China

    Wu, Qiong (Miranda); Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Taylor & Francis, 2021)
    The shift to a market economy in the past few decades has privatised the housing market and transformed housing into a crucial part of social stratification in urban China as in many Western capitalist countries. The hukou system which is based on the place of origin has long been a major state institution connected with where people reside and their entitlements in China. However, the existing research has been paid little attention to the multi-dimensions of the hukou system and the emerging class structure in the process of market transformation. I conceptualise hukou stratification in transitional urban China based on three dimensions and construct a new class typology based on Wright's capitalist class theory. Using the 2010–2013 Chinese General Social Survey, I investigate the effects of hukou and class on two housing outcomes: homeownership and housing space. The findings reveal that hukou is more important than class in determining homeownership, but class is more important than hukou in determining workers’ housing space in transitional urban China. This study contributes to the ongoing market transition debate, the results of which deepen insights into the hybrid nature of the stratification outcomes in the context of China’s market transition.
  • Dialogues: The King of Bangkok: A collaborative graphic novel

    Sopranzetti, Claudio; Fabbri, Sara; Natalucci, Chiara; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Wiley, 2022)
  • ‘Sub‐human’ beyond citizenship. A review of Nasir Uddin's <i>The Rohingya</i> .

    Rajaram, Prem Kumar; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Wiley, 2023)
  • Solidifying identity discourse through the politicized monumentation of struggle

    Panossian, Vicky; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Wiley, 2022)
    This article investigates contemporary examples of monumentation and the extent to which they solidify and reproduce a politicized discourse on identities. Focusing predominantly on the representation of refugees and migrants, the article is broken down into four sections, the first of which looks into the challenges of monumentation and the discourse it represents. The second part includes three case studies, each representing a different vestige of the struggle with the discourse propagated by certain monuments. The core of the argument concerns the parameters of social representation of the suffering subject, be it the refugee, the asylum seeker, their mother, or the colonial subject. I propose an adaptation of Fairclough's model of language and power to include monuments as replicas of texts which can be analyzed at word, discursive and social levels.
  • Liquid indigeneity: Wine, science, and colonial politics in Israel/Palestine

    Monterescu, Daniel; Handel, Ariel; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Wiley, 2019)
    Israel/Palestine is a site of bitter struggle over definitions of indigeneity and settlerness. In 2008 the first Palestinian “indigenous wine” was released, introducing a discourse of primordial place-based authenticity into the wine field. Today, winemakers, scientists, autochthonous grapes, and native wines reconfigure the field of gastronationalism. Palestinian and Israeli wine industries can now claim exclusive historical entitlement in a global era in which terroir, that is, the idiosyncratic place, shapes economic and cultural value. Against the dominance of “international varieties,” this indigenous turn in the wine world mobilizes genetics, enology, and ancient texts to rewrite the longue durée of the Israeli/Palestinian landscape. The appropriation of the indigenous grape illustrates the power of science, craft, and taste to reconfigure the human and nonhuman politics of settler colonialism.
  • Terroir and Territory on the Colonial Frontier: Making New-Old World Wine in the Holy Land

    Monterescu, Daniel; Handel, Ariel; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Cambridge University Press, 2020)
    Etymologically related, the concepts of terroir and territoriality display divergent cultural histories. While one designates the palatable characteristics of place as a branded story of geographic distinction, the other imbues the soil with political meaning. This paper traces the production of eno-locality in a contested space on both sides of the Green Line in Israel/Palestine. The case of the Yatir award-winning winery shows how terroir and territory are blended in the political economy and cultural politics of colonial place-making. Located on a multiscalar frontier—climatic, geopolitical, and viticultural—Yatir Winery positions itself simultaneously within the Mediterranean transnational landscape and in a biblical site of historical authenticity. Enacting strategic regimes of signification to target the increasing demand for high-end wines on both the global and local markets, it makes a claim for place, while appropriating Palestinian land and redefining ancient Jewish heritage. The result articulates a settler colonial landscape whose symbolic and material transformations are reflected in the Israeli search for rooted identity. Analytically, we explore the power of border and frontier wines to reconfigure the differences between New World and Old World paradigms. We conclude by outlining a comparative framework of the charged relations between terroir and territory that articulates the nexus between border typologies and the colonial politics of wine.
  • The ship

    Markkula, Johanna Sofia Kristina; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Taylor & Francis, 2022)
    When Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, ran aground and blocked the Suez Canal for six days in March 2021, it dramatically brought to light the fragile dependency of global trade on maritime infrastructures. It also drew attention to ships as actors within this global system of mobility. In this article, I centre on the figure of the ship to reflect on maritime passages and blockages and the particular forms of sociality that emerge through them. Drawing on ethnography from onboard container ships, I explore how crews interact with various actors, such as authorities, pilots, boatmen and peddlers, who, at times facilitate, at times obstruct, ships’ passages. Through this ethnographic lens, I make visible the intersecting dynamics of mobility and immobility, flow and friction, and connection and isolation that permeate the Suez Canal and the contemporary maritime, and which shape the social worlds on and around ships.
  • A new ‘Great Schism'? Theopolitics of communion and canonical territory in the Orthodox Church

    Kormina, Jeanne; Naumescu, Vlad; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Wiley, 2020)
    This article examines the recent ‘schism’ in Eastern Orthodoxy to show how religion and politics are strongly intertwined in disputes over territory and sovereignty. It argues that two logics are at play in this conflict: one grounded in the theological-political concept of ‘canonical territory’, the other in the notion of ‘communion’ at the basis of the Christian fellowship. The first is deployed in claims for national sovereignty as well as imperial domination, while the latter can make or break communities of faith. Drawing a parallel between the post-socialist revival of religion in Ukraine and the current mobilization on the ground, it shows how these contradictory logics shape the fate of people, churches and states.
  • A double-headed hydra: Marine Le Pen’s charisma, between political masculinity and political femininity

    Geva, Dorit; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Taylor & Francis, 2020)
    Although charisma is more commonly associated with masculine leadership, Marine Le Pen (MLP) is a woman politician whom supporters view as charismatic. Combining theories of hegemonic masculinity, and hegemonic femininity, with Max Weber’s typology of legitimate domination, this paper elaborates a framework for identifying how political masculinity and femininity are relationally structured within types of legitimate domination, including charismatic domination. I apply this framework to empirical analysis of the French radical rightwing leader and her supporters. Charisma, I suggest, is a form of political masculinity a woman can enact, but which allows for expression of political femininity. Drawing from participant observation data gathered on the French National Front between 2013 and 2017, and from interviews with party members, I show how activists viewed MLP as an admirably virile figure. Simultaneously, she was venerated for her feminine corporality, and her expression of feminine care, or caritas. Like a double-headed hydra, MLP was viewed as extraordinary due to her combined political masculinity and political femininity. Contra theories of hegemonic masculinity, MLP shows that a charismatic woman can perform hegemonic masculinity without being punished by supporters for doing so. Rational-bureaucratic domination, by contrast, is predominantly masculine, and allows for little expression of political femininity.
  • Non au gender: Moral epistemics and French conservative strategies of distinction

    Geva, Dorit; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Taylor & Francis, 2019)
    Catholic bourgeois contestations against ‘le gender’, and against ‘bourgeoisbohemians’, characterised ‘La Manif Pour Tous’ and ‘Les Veilleurs’, French social movements which mobilised intensely in 2013 against legalisation of same-sex marriage. Drawing from primary field observations of movement events, and from interviews, I argue that moral epistemics – knowledge politics oriented around moral issues – were central to the movements. Additionally, these moral epistemics were structured by the class positioning of conservative bourgeois Catholics. I trace how contestations against ‘le gender’ were framed as critiques of how moral knowledge is produced and irresponsibly disseminated by rival bourgeois actors, and how conservative activists contrasted themselves as educated and thoughtful subjects whose ideas emerged autonomously and outside the Church hierarchy. Studies of conservatism should thus not only analyse the theological content of religiously-grounded conservative movements, but should also examine how conservatives criticise the circuits of knowledge-production and dissemination of relationally antagonistic groups.
  • “It's All for the Child”: The Discontents of Middle-class Chinese Parenting and Migration to Europe

    Beck, Fanni; Nyíri, Pál; Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Cambridge University Press, 2022)
    Middle-class parents in China are increasingly torn between the need to secure their child's future in an environment where competition starts in kindergarten and parenting ideologies focusing on the child's individuality, creativity and freedom. Our study, based on ethnographic fieldwork among middle-class Chinese migrants in Budapest, shows that one result of this tension is a new wave of emigration that is justified in terms of securing a relaxed, healthy and free environment for the child. These migrants consciously reject what they see as a materialistic and dehumanizing social environment in China and pursue a “European” lifestyle that they imagine as wholesome and human-centred; yet while they rejoice in the “happiness” of their children, they retain a deep-seated anxiety about their children's future. Thus, the search for a mentally and physically wholesome environment consonant with China's discourse of national revitalization becomes decoupled from its original agenda and triggers a new trend in international mobility. This study illustrates how the broader tensions in the relationship between China's middle class and the state are externalized to the global stage.
  • Employment Precarity, COVID-19 Risk, and Workers' Well-Being During the Pandemic in Europe

    Wu, Qiong (Miranda); Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (SAGE, 2023)
    The COVID-19 crisis highlights a growing precarity in employment and the importance of employment for workers' well-being. Existing studies primarily examine the consequences of employment precarity through non-standard employment arrangements or the perception of job insecurity as a one-dimensional measure. Recent scholars advocate a multidimensional construct with a wide range of objective and subjective characteristics of precariousness. Using data from Eurofound's Living, Working, and COVID-19 surveys, I define employment precarity as the objective form of employment instability, as well as subjective terms of job insecurity and emotional precariousness. I also investigate whether and how various facets of employment precarity along with COVID-19 risk are associated with workers' mental and subjective well-being across 27 European Union member states during the pandemic. This study sheds light on a comprehensive understanding of objective and subjective dimensions of employment precarity, as well as their effects on workers' well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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