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

Grzebalska, Weronika, and Andrea Pető. “The gendered modus operandi of the illiberal transformation in Hungary and Poland.” In Women’s Studies International Forum, vol. 68, pp. 164-172. Pergamon, 2018.


Based on a comparative analysis of the ideological and policy tools of illiberal ruling parties in Hungary and Poland, this paper makes the case that the 21st century Central European illiberal transformation is a process deeply reliant on gender politics, and that a feminist analysis is central to understanding the current regime changes, both in terms of their ideological underpinnings, and with respect to their modus operandi. It argues that: 1. opposition to the liberal equality paradigm has become a key ideological space where the illiberal alternative to the post-1989 (neo)liberal project is being forged; 2. family mainstreaming and anti-gender policies have been one of the main pillars on which the illiberal state has been erected, and through which security, equality and human rights have been redefined; 3. illiberal transformation operates through the appropriation of key concepts, tools and funding channels of liberal equality politics which have been crucial to women’s rights. The article describes some new and distinct challenges illiberal governance poses to the women’s rights, feminist civil society and emancipatory politics in 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.