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

Buzogany, Aron, and Mihai Varga. “Illiberal Thought Collectives and Policy Networks in Hungary and Poland.” European Politics and Society, July 30, 2021.


Focusing on the emergence of ideas and the knowledge networks involved in producing a counter-narrative to the liberal and neoliberal ideational consensus of the 1990s and 2000s, this contribution traces the intellectual trajectory of the illiberal turn in Poland and Hungary. We make use of the ideational scholarship differentiating between public philosophies, problem definitions and policy solutions to discuss how illiberal state transformation and heterodox socio-economic policies became the new paradigm that the two ruling parties PiS and Fidesz have promoted during the last decade. We suggest that the viability of PiS and Fidesz’s policies was largely conditioned by the increasing influence of conservative networks in the public sphere which prepared the grounds for these reforms. The contribution discusses the main intellectual actors, structures, and ideas paving the way and legitimizing illiberalism in the two countries.

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.