Dorottya Szikra

Dorottya Szikra
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Head of Research Department

Research Professor (TK SZI)
Research Interests

Dorottya Szikra, PhD is Research Professor and Head of Research Department at the Centre for Social Sciences and Visiting Professor at CEU Vienna. Szikra's current research interest focuses on democratic backsliding and the welfare state. Her related work include (with Kerem G. Öktem) 2022. An illiberal welfare state emerging? Welfare efforts and trajectories under democratic backsliding in Hungary and Turkey. In Journal of European Social Policy, and a CIVICA reseach project entitled Welfare, Democracy, and Populism under the COVID-19 Crisis (WELDECO) that she carried out in association with CEU Democracy Institute. Her former research primarily focused on welfare state and family policies in Eastern Europe. The outcome of this research is the recent comparative monograph with Cristina Rat and Tomasz Inglot, 2022. Mothers, Families or Children? Family Policy in Poland, Hungary, and Romania, 1945-2020. University of Pittsburgh Press. Between 2016 and 2020 she acted as the co-chair of the European Social Policy Analysis Network (ESPAnet). She has acted as a member of the editorial boards of various journals, including the European Journal of Social Security, the Hungarian on-line journal and the Journal of European Social Policy. Between 2021 and 2022 she served as a member of the EC commissioned High-Level Group on the future of social protection and of the welfare state in the EU. 

Selected Publications

Márton Gerő, Anna Fejős, Szabina Kerényi, Dorottya Szikra. 2023. From Exclusion to Co-Optation: Political Opportunity Structures and Civil Society Responses in De-Democratising Hungary.  Politics and Governance. 11(1). 

(with Kerem Öktem) (2022). An illiberal welfare state emerging? Welfare efforts and trajectories under democratic backsliding in Hungary and Turkey. Journal of European Social Policy.

(with Cristina Rat and Tomasz Inglot) 2022. Mothers, Families or Children? Family Policy in Poland, Hungary, and Romania, 1945-2020. University of Pittsburgh Press. 

Szelewa, Dorota és Szikra, Dorottya (2022) Leave policies in populist and illiberal regimes: the cases of Hungary and Poland. In: Research Handbook on Leave Policy Parenting and Social Inequalities in a Global Perspective. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, pp. 100-114. ISBN 9781800372207

(with J. Aidukaite, S. Saxonberg, D. Szelewa). 2021. Social policy in the face of a global pandemic: Policy responses to the COVID‐19 crisis in Central and Eastern Europe. In. Social Policy and Administration, online first

(with E. Varsa). 2020. “New eugenics,” gender and sexuality: A global perspective on reproductive politics and sex education in Cold War Europe. In. The History of the Family, Vol. 25(4).

(with Anna Fejős, Mária Neményi and Róza Vajda). Civil society activism related to women and families since 2010 in Hungary. Deepening cleavages and new strategies. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Budapest, October 2020.

(with A. Bartha and Zs. Boda). 2020. “When Populist Leaders Govern: Conceptualising Populism in Policy Making.” In: Politics and Governance, 2020 Vol.8 (3)

Szikra, D. 2019. Ideology or Pragmatism? Interpreting Social Policy Change under the “System of National Cooperation”. In: Kovács, J. M. and B. Trencsényi (Eds.) Brave New Hungary: Mapping the "System of National Cooperation" Rowman and Littlefield, Lexington Books, 225-241.

(with Péter Csizmadia). The paradoxes of neo-liberalism. Labour relations and employment policies in times of volatility. Introduction to Special Issue of 2019/7.

Book Review on Kati Kuitto, Post-Communist Welfare States in European Context. Patterns of Welfare Policies in Central Eastern Europe, Cheltenham (UK) / Northampton (MA): Edward Elgar, 2016. In. European Journal of Social Security, 2018, Vol. 20(4) 374–392.

Hungary. In: Isabel, Ortiz; Fabio, Durán-Valverde; Stefan, Urban and Veronika Wodsak (eds.) Reversing Pension Privatizations: Rebuilding public pension systems in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Geneva, Switzerland: International Labour Office (ILO), 2018 pp. 155-193.

Reversing privatization and re-nationalizing pensions in Hungary. Working Paper. Geneva, Switzerland: International Labour Office (ILO), 2018. 32 p. ISSN 1020-959X

(with Cristina Rat). "Family policies and social inequalities in Central and Eastern Europe. A comparative analysis of Hungary, Poland and Romania between 2005 and 2015." In Guðný Björk Eydal and Tine Rostgaard (eds.) Handbook of Child and Family Policy. Edward Elgar Publishing. Cheltenham – Northhamton 2018. 223-236.

Ideológia vagy pragmatizmus? Családpolitika az orbáni illiberális demokráciában. (Ideology or pragmatism? Family policy in the illiberal democracy of Viktor Orbán.) In: Bozóki András, Füzér Katalin (eds.) Lépték és irónia: Szociológiai kalandozások. Budapest, L'Harmattan - MTA Társadalomtudományi Kutatóközpont, 2018. pp. 219-241.

(with Mátyás Domschitz). “A Jobbik szociálpolitikája.” (“The Social Policy of the Far Right in Hungary” – in Hungarian). In. Esély, 2018, 29(2), 29-58.

“Távolodás ez európai szociális modelltől – a szegénység társadalompolitikája” (“Moving away from the European Social Model. The social policy of poverty”- in Hungarian.") In. Magyar Tudomány, 2018(2).

 “Welfare for the Wealthy. The Social Policy of the Orbán-regime, 2010-2017.” Working Paper. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Budapest, March, 2018.

(with Vera Messing and Mária Neményi). "Recognition, Rights and Redistribution. Introduction to the Honorary Issue of Intersections. EEJSP to Celebrate Júlia Szalai." In East European Journal of Society and Politics. 2018, 4(1), 4–9.

(with Vera Messing and Mária Neményi). “Előszó. Különszám Szalai Júlia köszöntésére.” (“Introduction to the Special Issue to Celebrate Júlia Szalai” – in Hungarian). 2018(1) 1-5. Social Science Review.

(with Diána Kiss). “Beyond Nationalization. Assessing the Impact of the 2010-2013 Pension Reform in Hungary.” In. Review of Sociology 2017. 27(4) 83-107.

(with Ágnes Darvas). “Családi ellátások és szolgáltatások.” (Family benefits and services – in Hungarian.) In: Ferge Zsuzsa (ed.) Magyar társadalom- és szociálpolitika, 1990-2015. (Hungarian Social- and Societal Policy, 1990-2015) Osiris, Budapest, 2017. 215-254.

“A magyar nyugdíjrendszer a rendszerváltás óta.” (The Hungarian Pension System since the Fall of Communism – in Hungarian.) In: Ferge Zsuzsa (ed.) Magyar társadalom- és szociálpolitika, 1990-2015. (Hungarian Social- and Societal Policy, 1990-2015) Osiris, Budapest, 2017. 288-309.

(with Ágota Scharle): Recent Changes Moving Hungary Away from the European Social Model. In: Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead (ed.) The European Social model in crisis: Is Europe losing its soul? Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing; International Labour Office, 2015, 229–261.

"Democracy and welfare in hard times: The social policy of the Orbán Government in Hungary between 2010 and 2014." In Journal of European Social Policy, (2014) 24(5), 486–500.

(with Zsófia Aczél and Dorota Szelewa). “The Changing Language of Social Policy in Hungary and Poland” In: Klaus Petersen, Daniel Béland (eds.) Analysing Social Policy Concepts and Language: Comparative and Transnational Perspectives. Bristol: Policy Press, 2014. pp. 35-57.

“Austerity policies and gender impacts in Hungary.” Working Paper. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2013, Budapest.

(with Tomasz Inglot and Cristina Rat). "Reforming Post-Communist Welfare States: Family Policy in Poland, Hungary and Romania since 2000." In: Problems of Post-Communism. (2012) 59:(6) pp.  27–49.

“Reménytelenség és terápia.” (Hopelessness and Therapy.” Book-review on Ferge Zsuzsa: Vágányok és vakvágányok a társadalompolitikában. L’Harmattan Kiadó, Budapest, 2012 – in Hungarian) In. Élet és Irodalom, LVI. July 13, 2012.

"Welfare Co-operatives’ and social policy between the two World Wars in Hungary." In: Hilson, Mary, Pirjo Markkola and Ann-Catrin Östman (eds.) Co-operatives and the Social Question: The Co-operative Movement in Northern and Eastern Europe, 1880–1950. Welsh Academic Press. Cardiff. 2012. 153–167.

“Tradition Matters: Child Care and Primary School Education in Modern Hungary.” In. Child Care and Primary Education in Post-War Europe. Karen Hagemann, Konrad Jarausch and Cristina Allemann-Ghionda (eds.) New York and Oxford, Berghahn Books. 2011.364-385.

“Családtámogatási rendszerek Európában történeti perspektívában.” (Family Policies in Europe in a Historical Perspective – in Hungarian.) In: Simonyi Ágnes (ed.) Családpolitikák változóban. (Changing family policies.) Szociálpolitikai és Munkaügyi Intézet, Budapest, 2010. 9-19.

“Franciaország, Lengyelország, az Egyesült Királyság, a Német Szövetségi Köztársaság, Norvégia és Spanyolország családtámogatási rendszere.” (Family Policies in France, Poland, United Kingdom, Germany, Norway and Spain – in Hungarian) In: Simonyi Ágnes (ed.) Családpolitikák változóban. Szociálpolitikai és Munkaügyi Intézet, Budapest, 2010. 20-42.

(with Dorota Szelewa), “Do Central and Eastern European countries fit the ‘Western’ picture? The example of family policies in Hungary and Poland.” In Christina Klenner – Simone Leiber (eds.) Welfare States and Gender Inequality in Central and Eastern Europe. Continuity and Post-socialist Transformation in the EU Member States. European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), Brussels, 2010. 81-117.

“Eastern European faces of familialism: Hungarian and Polish family policies from a historical perspective.” In Diana Auth, Eva Buchholz, Stefanie Janczyk (eds.): Selektive Emanzipation: Analyse zur Gleichstellungs- und Familienpolitik. [Politik und Geschlecht, Band 21] Verlag Barbara Budrich, Opladen & Farmington Hills, MI, 2010. 239-254.

(with Béla Tomka) “Social Policy in East Central Europe. Major Trends in the 20st Century.” In Alfio Cerami and Pieter Vanhuysse (eds.) (2009). Post-Communist Welfare Pathways: Theorizing Social Policy Transformations in Central and Eastern Europe. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan. 2009

Szikra, Dorottya and Dorota Szelewa (2009). “Welfare et socialisme: de certains concepts relatifs au genre.” [Welfare under state socialism. An attempt to apply mainstream and gendered concepts.] Cahiers du Genre, n° 48, 2009.

Social Policy and Anti-Semitic Exclusion before and during World War II in Hungary. The Case of the Productive Social Policy. In Hauss, Gisella – Schulte, Dagmar: Amid Social Contradictions. Towards a History of Social Work in Europe. Opladen and Farmington Hills, Barbara Budrich Publishers. 2009. 111-131.

(with Eszter Varsa and Borbála Juhász), Building the “Social State” in Hungary: The Hungarian Settlement Movement between the Two World Wars. In Hauss, Gisella – Schulte, Dagmar (eds.) Amid Social Contradictions. Towards a History of Social Work in Europe. Opladen and Farmington Hills, Barbara Budrich Publishers. 2009. 131-149.

“From Bismarck to the New Pension Orthodoxy. The Historical Development of the Pension System in Hungary”, In. Jorn-Henrik Petersen – Klaus Petersen (eds.) The Politics of Age. Public Pensions in a Comparative and Historical Perspective. Peter Lang Publishers, Hamburg, 2008.

(with Dorota Szelewa.) „Passen die mittel- und osteuropäische Länder in das “westliche“ Bild? Das Beispiel der Familienpolitik in Ungarn und Polen.“ In Christina Klenner and Simone Leiber (eds.) Wohlfahrtsstaaten und Geschlechterungleichheit in Mittel- und Osteuropa. Kontinuität und postsozialistische Transformation in den EU-Mitgliedstaaten. VS Verlag, 2008. Wiesbaden, Germany, 88-123.

“A szociálpolitika másik arca. Fajvédelem és produktív szociálpolitika az 1940-es évek Magyarországán.” (The Dark Side of Social Policy. Racism and Productive Social Policy in the 1940s’ in Hungary – in Hungarian.) In: Századvég, 13. évf. 48. sz. 2008. 39-79.

(with Borbála Juhász and Eszter Varsa), “A lány villamosa. Határátlépő nők a két világháború közötti szociális munkában Földy Ilona és Göntér Zsuzsanna életrajzán keresztül.” (Tram to the Outskirts. Female Social Workers Crossing Borders between the Two World Wars in Hungary.) In Bakó Boglárka – Tóth Eszter Zsófia (szerk.): Határtalan nők. Kizártak és befogadottak a női társadalomban. Nyitott Könyvműhely, Budapest, 2008.

“Characteristics of Teaching Social Policy and Gender in Eastern Europe.” in. Andrea Pető (ed.): Teaching Gender Studies in Hungary. Ministry of Youth, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. Budapest, 2006.

“Family and Child Support in a Postcommunist Society: Origins of the Mixed Hungarian Welfare Capitalism.” In: M. Cain, N. Gelazis and T. Inglot. (Eds.)Fighting Poverty and Reforming Social Security: What Can Post-Soviet States Learn from the New Democracies of Central Europe? Woodrow Wilson International Center, Washington DC, 2005.

(with Eszter Varsa), “Gender, Class and Ethnicity-Based Differentiation in the Practice of Hungarian Social Work. Case Study of the Kozma-Street Settlement, 1935-1945.” In: Kurt Schilde – Dagmar Schulte (eds.): Need and Care – Glimpses into the Beginnings of Eastern Europe’s Professional Welfare. Barbara Budrich Publishers, 2005.

Research Projects

2023 – : Welfare Experiences Secure, Dignified and Just? A paradigm shift in the comparative study of social protection. ERC Grant with the leadership of King's College London, Hungarian partner.

2019 – :  Democratic Backsliding and the Welfare State

2019 – ongoing: Social policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

2019 – ongoing: (De)democratization and civil society. Research project funded by the Center for Social Sciences, Budapest (lead researcher Márton Gerő)

2019 – 2020: The Changing Landscape of Civil Society Movements related to Women’s Issues and Gender in Hungary. Developments after 2010. Research project funded by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, lead researcher

2011 – 2019: Welfare States and Families in a Transforming Europe since 1945: A Comparison of Poland, Hungary, and Romania. Completed book manuscript co-authored with Tomasz Inglot and Cristina Rat

2018 – 2021: Populizmus a közpolitika- és jogalkotásban (Populism in policy making) (OTKA, vez. Kut. Boda Zsolt);