The Hungarian Feminist Movement After the Regime Change from a Global and Historical Perspective

In this article, we understand the emergence of post-regime-change Eastern European – and within that, Hungarian – feminism as part of the global unequal historical development. Central to our approach is the idea that the social phenomena of a given era – thus the experience of femininity and feminist movements – are to be analysed not in themselves, but in the context of the broader system of relations which they form part of. The context in which we set out to analyse the possibilities of these movements is the increasingly closely integrated system of capitalistic commodity production and division of labour emerging during the “long 16th century” and spreading to the entire globe – in other words, the capitalist world-system. We will look at how the relation between the feminisms of the western core and the East has developed throughout the recent world economic integration of Eastern-European countries, primarily Hungary, which we date from the 1970s. First, we present our theoretical framework regarding how femininity can be understood as a structural position. Second, we outline Western-European and North-American gender relations and feminisms, partly during the prospering era of North-American hegemony emerging after the Second World War, but we place greater emphasis on the period of crisis of the international political and cultural hegemony present from the 1970s, parallel to which the slow reintegration of Eastern-European countries into the capitalist world economy also began. Third, we present Hungarian feminism following the regime change in the context of the formal reintegration of the Eastern European semi-periphery into the capitalist world economy. Finally, we present the changes that Hungarian feminism has undergone following the social and intra-movement rearrangement after the 2008 world economic crisis.

Released: Replika 108–109, 241–262.