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  • © 2022

The Gender Regime of Anti-Liberal Hungary


  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access
  • Explores the social—not merely the political—consequences of illiberalism
  • A first attempt at describing key elements of the gender regime of illiberal rule
  • Contributes to discussions on the nature and changes in gender inequality globally

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Table of contents (4 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xi
  2. A Carefare Regime

    • Eva Fodor
    Pages 29-64Open Access
  3. Fostering in a Carefare Regime

    • Eva Fodor
    Pages 65-102Open Access
  4. Conclusion

    • Eva Fodor
    Pages 103-109Open Access
  5. Back Matter

    Pages 111-117

About this book

This Open Access book explains a new type of political order that emerged in Hungary in 2010: a form of authoritarian capitalism with an anti-liberal political and social agenda. Eva Fodor analyzes an important part of this agenda that directly targets gender relations through a set of policies, political practice and discourse—what she calls “carefare.” The book reveals how this is the anti-liberal response to the crisis-of-care problem and establishes how a state carefare regime disciplines women into doing an increasing amount of paid and unpaid work without fair remuneration. Fodor analyzes elements of this regime in depth and contrasts it to other social policy ideal-types, demonstrating how carefare is not only a set of policies targeting women, but an integral element of anti-liberal rule that can be seen emerging globally. 


“The focus in Fodor’s study on political economy and state welfare is novel and highly important. … the works by Fodor and by Graff and Korolczuk act as an important rejoinder to liberal feminist concepts of backsliding and backlash, which have largely grown up in Western scholarship. … these books provide an important reminder of the need for a political economic consideration of the anti-gender phenomenon.” (Jennifer Thomson, Politics & Gender, September 20, 2022) This authoritative analysis of anti-liberal Hungary’s 21st century twist on “Kinder, Küche, Kirche” exposes its exploitation of women not only as unpaid carers in the home but also as a source of cheap paid labor. Fodor deftly links the Orbán regime’s notorious opposition to gender equality to its embrace of pronatalism, xenophobia, and expanded funding for church-based childcare and eldercare.  A terrifying, essential read.

Ruth Milkman, City University of New York Graduate Center and author of On Gender, Labor, and Inequality (lllinois, 2016) and Immigrant Labor and the New Precariat (Polity 2020)

Eva Fodor’s new book is an important contribution to the understanding of the wordwide drift from liberal democracy to anti-liberalism (or illiberalism) during the past 10-15 years. The study focuses on a case, a small country, which took a lead in this process: Hungary. A major contribution of the book is the description ofthe gender regime of anti-liberalism what she calls a “carefare regime”. While liberalism tends to commodify care work, anti-liberal regimes reemphasize women’s role as mothers and housekeepers and the poorest of the poor are turned into a “female underclass” who have to keep their (usually miserable) market incomes and also deliver unpaid care services. Great book about anti-liberalism and especially its gender regime.

Ivan Szelenyi, William Graham Sumner Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Yale University, USA

Finally, a book that offers brilliant insight into the seemingly perplexing: the gender politics of the contemporary Hungarian state. With sharpness and wit, Fodor reveals how the public attack on gender--indeed, even on the concept of gender itself--goes hand-in-hand with the rise of authoritarian rule and right-wing populism. Giving this new gender regime a name, “the carefare state,” Fodor uncovers how it became so foundational to anti-liberal currents in Hungary. Part history of the present and part social policy analysis, The Gender Regime of Anti-Liberal Hungary makes an enormous contribution to understandings of anti-democratic politics, gender relations, and social inequality in Hungary and beyond.

Lynne Haney, Professor of Sociology, New York University, USA

Eva Fodor’s The Gender Regime of Anti-Liberal Hungary insightfully dissects the anti-gender ideology of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government, which has  eroded measures in support of gender equality and against gender-based violence, as well as the academic study of gender and sexuality. Fodor provocatively discusses a successor to neoliberalism’s workfare, namely a “carefare” regime in which child protection and women’s paid and unpaid labor are regulated in the interest of preserving tradition and the Hungarian nation. Illustrating the gendered dynamics of carefare through a case study of fostering, Fodor’s analysis is as somber and troubling as it is cautionary, telling a tale to which scholars and policy makers should carefully attend.

Gail Kligman, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Gender Studies, CEU Democracy Institute Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

    Eva Fodor

About the author

Eva Fodor is Professor of Gender Studies and Co-Director of the Democracy Institute at the Central European University located in Budapest, Hungary and Vienna, Austria. Her research focuses on gender inequalities in the labor market and social citizenship rights from a comparative perspective.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: The Gender Regime of Anti-Liberal Hungary

  • Authors: Eva Fodor

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Pivot Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2022

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-85311-2Published: 01 December 2021

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-85312-9Published: 30 November 2021

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XI, 117

  • Number of Illustrations: 4 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Gender Studies, Politics and Gender, Political Sociology

Buy it now

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access