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Photo:Viktor Orbán,” by Annika Haas (EU2017EE) licensed under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Hue modified from the original.

Bradford, Simon, and F. J. Cullen. “The Advantages of Chaos: Myth-Making and COVID-19 in Hungary.” Populism 5, no. 2 (2022): 157-183.


The COVID-19 pandemic has created new opportunities and challenges for populist regimes. A growing body of work has explored the formation of populist and nationalist political reactions in the wake of a global health crisis. This article explores myth-making and the Covid 19 pandemic in populist Hungary. We identify pandemic ‘mythogenic’ narratives that reconfigure and replay older ethno-nationalist myths, those of the ‘polluting’ alien Other, Hungarian exceptionalism, and treachery and betrayal. Thus, the power of global crisis is drawn into extant myths to support local political ends and the interests of Hungary’s governing party. The article cites examples of mythologising practice from Hungary’s hybrid media landscape, suggesting Hungarian politics is as much contested within the mythic and symbolic as in other domains.

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.