Cuteness As a Tool of Depoliticization: Two Hungarian Case Studies

The “Squirrels” and “Mauves” are two activist groups, both dedicated to good causes (helping the homeless, preventing cancer, social justice and preventive healthcare) but mostly they talk about themselves, and in fact, the most important element of their discourse is creating and narrating their own distinction. Meanwhile, they create a fictitious world based on “common sense” rules and alternative facts that justify their own privileged status. Behind the “good cause” most of their activities relate to their own world views, revolve around their own (fictive) identities, and reflect their own desires. I use narrative analysis and visual rhetorical analysis to investigate the mechanism of such depoliticisation and I conclude that most of it is done on the visual and the affective register. I investigate how and when they communicate “rational”, “common sense” statements, and what is the material reality behind them. These groups do the local footwork of transnational political actors (meaning making, distributing cultural scripts such as identity panels and moral axioms), and they legitimise geo- and biopolitical relations of the East-West axis by staking out moral hierarchies.

Released: Replika 112, 189–215.