Megjelent Szalai Júlia: Hungary’s Bifurcated Welfare State. Splitting Social Rights and the Social Exclusion of Roma

Additions to ASRF Working Papers series


Working Paper 2013:05


Authors: Julia Szalai

This paper takes departure from two important strands of theorising social citizenship as the fundament and the most essential normative concept of the welfare state. The first is T.H. Marshall’s classic work on the historical evolution of the trinity of civil, political, and social rights (Marshall & Bottomore 1992). Two of his arguments (on gradualism and on social rights) are of key importance for us when applying the theory in conceptualising the postcommunist welfare state. Marshall’s two important arguments are furthered by Will Kimlycka who re-conceptualises the trinity of rights in light of those important historical changes that have been brought about by mass immigration from the global South toward the global North (Kymlicka 1995).

These two conceptualisations of social rights are applied in analysing the performance of Hungary’s postcommunist welfare state. As I will attempt to show, it was a meaningful conversion of earlier gradually elaborated paths of covert marketisation under state-socialism that provided the socio-historical foundation of postcommunist transformation. At the same time, it has been the very same gradual process that, gaining rapid institutionalisation in service of majority interests upon the collapse of the old rule, has led to a sharp fragmentation of social rights with the concomitant massive social exclusion of the country’s largest ethnic minority, its dramatically impoverished and marginalised Roma community.

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