Theory and Society

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 639–644 | Cite as

Paternal domination and the mafia state under post-communism

  • Iván Szelenyi


This review essay discusses Bálint Magyar’s most recent book, Stubborn Structures: Conceptualizing Post-communist Regimes (Budapest: CEU Press 2019). Bálint Magyar first published in Hungarian in 2015 (published in English by CEU Press in 2016) a path-breaking book on The Post-Communist Mafia State: The Case of Hungary. This was the first major attempt to move beyond political controversies and offer a systematic critique of post-communist states. The book also went beyond the usual accusation of “corruption.” Magyar’s key point is that—at least in Hungary—a mafia style of “upper-world” was created, with a “godfather” at the top of it and an “adopted family” below it. This fascinating idea was followed by edited books that included contribution by other scholars. The latest such book is Magyar’s Stubborn Structures: Conceptualizing Post-communist Regimes (CEU Press 2019), which includes articles applying the “mafia state theory” to a great variety of post-communist countries.


Post-communism Mafia state Corruption Paternalism Illiberalism 


Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iván Szelenyi
    • 1
  1. 1.BudapestHungary

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