The Socialization Process for Hungary’s New Political Elites

  • László Kéri


The last few years in the postcommunist transition period provide us with useful and newer insights. For example, in Hungary, the new political elite which has crystallized since 1989 consists of groups that are essentially different from one another. This chapter outlines six basic types among the Hungarian political elites in the 1990s. On the basis of their political cultures, behaviors, and attitudes, we can distinguish the following types: survivors, intellectuals in the humanities tradition, demagogic leaders, professionals, the ‘newly-born’, and new capitalist entrepreneurs.

It is very instructive to analyze in some detail the socialization experience for each elite type. In the process of political learning, different agent structures were operating in each case. By carrying out comparative analyses of these structures, we can demonstrate that the duality of the previously believed formal-informal socialization model should be fundamentally revised. We should discard some of the criteria we worked out in the 1980s. In connection with changes which political transition has generated, there are now the previous informal political socialization processes, the latent mechanisms which led to the formation of rival political elites, and the fact that this rivalry has become a permanent feature of Hungarian politics. This also means that the hidden mechanisms of political socialization fulfilled not only the function of the traditional transmission of political culture and patterns (to counter the influence of official political indoctrination), but they also fulfilled various other important functions. A detailed description of the Hungarian case will provide new insights into the analysis of the problems of socialization in this recent postcommunist transition period.


Political Culture Political Elite Political Life Socialist System Political Socialization 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1996

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  • László Kéri

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