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“Here One Cannot Live, But It Is Not Worth Living Elsewhere”: Rethinking Illiberalism Through the Politics of Displacement of Roma in Orbán’s Hungary

February 1, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Scholars of democratic regime theory, as well as nationalism studies have examined at length the state-centric and ideological drivers of the recent European ‘illiberal turn’ and its discontents. What necessitates further examination, and what this project proposes to do on a broader scale, is to address how, or if, contemporary illiberal politics forge new political subjectivities and citizen associations that affect informal institutional ties (i.e. kinship, family); and produce asymmetries in sub-regional economies that allow or impede interest making at local scales. My work argues that studies of states and societies undergoing immanent capture, or consolidation into autocratic regimes, necessitate multi-dimensional perspectives that begin with the plurality of livelihoods, interests, and contradictions that arise within everyday life. In other words, how are “transitions” to an ‘illiberal’ or ‘authoritarian’ state perceived, symbolized and lived through? And how are these politics acutely felt, made sense of, ignored, resisted, or adapted to by certain citizenries and segments of society?

This dissertation project is informed by participant observation in Hungary’s northeastern provinces, with a focus on the cultural concepts circulating housing, property, and security-development politics in the post-industrial city of Miskolc. Through a set of fieldsights and narratives, Patrick Ciaschi will present how targeted Roma and Gypsy inhabitants and neighborhoods become microcosms of national state level tensions: where EU level integration/resettlement and local level eviction and ostracism campaigns coincide; where factional fault lines between various humanitarian, right wing vigilante and civil rights groups intersect; and where Roma and Gypsy inhabitants consider asylum in Canada as a necessary way to seek life elsewhere.

About the speaker

Patrick CiaschiPatrick Ciaschi is a Visiting Scholar at the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) and PhD Candidate, Politics, at The New School for Social Research.



February 1, 2018
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category:


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Waterloo, ON N2L 6C2 Canada
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