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Photo: “Budapest: Hungarian Parliament“, by Jorge Franganillo licensed under CC BY 2.0. Hue modified from the original

Lendvai‐Bainton, Noemi, and Dorota Szelewa. “Governing new authoritarianism: Populism, nationalism and radical welfare reforms in Hungary and Poland.” Social Policy & Administration.


Drawing on contemporary academic literature on the rise of authoritarian neoliberalism (Bruff, Rethinking Marxism: A Journal of Economics, Culture & Society, 2014, 26, 113–129; Bruff, The handbook of neoliberalism, 2016, 107–117; Giroux, 2015), the uneven geographies of neoliberalism (Peck, 2010), and authoritarian progress (Bloom, 2015; Brown, Authoritarianism: Three Inquiries in Critical Theory, 2018, 7–44), we aim to trace the rise of new authoritarianism in Hungary and Poland. We argue that the fast-tracking of radical neoliberal economic policies in conjuncture with the building of an “illiberal democracy” with strong populism and nationalism brings about new ways of negotiating the economic, the political and the social in a post-2008 landscape. This contemporary insurgence, we would argue, has significant impact on both the welfare state as an institutional structure for social sharing, as well as on the forms and practises of social citizenship. We aim to theorise “authoritarian neoliberalism” as a distinctive regime and draw comparative lessons from Hungary and Poland.

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.