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Photo: “Évértékelő 2020 (5)“, by Elekes Andor licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. Hue modified from the original

Mikecz, Dániel. “Civil society as a counterbalance to democratic backlash? The civil society master frame and discursive opportunities of politically active civil organizations in Hungary.” Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe (2020): 1-15.


Since the mid-2010s a political discourse began on the role of civil organizations as a counterbalance to the democratic backlash in Hungary. The idea that civil society can be an agent of democratic transition and have control over politics can be dated back in East Central Europe to the end of the 1970s. The paper aims to reveal how the political control function, i.e. the civil society master frame resonates in Hungarian society with the help of a representative survey of 1100 respondents. The data shows that the target group of the civil society master frame can be left-liberal citizens in mid-sized towns, which indicates a discrepancy between discursive and mobilization opportunities as politically active civil organizations can approach citizens from the country’s capital with a high social status.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.