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Radicalism and indifference

Memory transmission, political formation and modernization in Hungary and Europe

Domonkos Sik

Most theories of radicalization focus on the birth of antidemocratic ideas, semantics, behavior patterns and organizations. However, such focus is one-sided: radicalization is as much about the forgetting of historical lessons and the weakening of a democratic consensus, as the spreading of populist ideas. A case study of public and private processes of memory transmission in Hungary reveals how the ambiguous relation to modernization affects political formation: the failures provoke populist reactions, while the successes result in political indifference. The combination of these two political cultures creates a dangerous compound including both the opportunity for the birth of antidemocratic semantics and their ignorance. The author analyzes the potential of such «incubation of radicalism» on a European survey.

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Introduction ...............................................................................................................7 Situating Hungarian modernization: the Central European experience of modernity ................................................................15 From the dilemmas of nation building to the state socialist experiment of modernization.......................................................................18 The ambiguities of the transition .................................................................26 Differences between Central and Western European experiences of modernity ...................................................................................................38 The public reconstruction of the past: from identity crisis to memory vacuum ...............................................................................................51 Victimization and accusation: debates on the House of Terror Museum and the Holocaust Memorial Center ..........................53 Shock therapy instead of understanding: the permanent exhibition of the House of Terror Museum ................................................66 From assimilation to deportations: the permanent exhibition of the Holocaust Memorial Center ..............................................................79 Grappling with the past: youth narratives of historical traumas and current challenges...................................................................................91 The consequences of memory vacuum .......................................................105 Memory transmittance and political formation in the family ..............................................................................................................109 From silenced traumas to political indifference ........................................111 From deprivation of the past to frustrated radicalism ..............................127 From moral obligations to civic activism ...................................................145 Identity construction, recognition struggles and political formation ....164 6Political formation in divergent constellations of Hungarian modernization .............................................................................167 Being in the world: the lifeworld of young people ....................................170 Remembering and distancing: patterns of collective memory ................180 The challenges of post-socialist modernity: the perception of social and political problems ....................................................................190 Reactions to the challenges of post-socialist modernity: ignorance, activism and radicalism .............................................................202 Incubating radicalism in Hungary: between indifference and hopelessness .............................................................................................212 Radicalism and indifference: patterns of political culture in Europe ....................................................................................................219 Locations and variables .................................................................................221 The process of political formation in Europe .............................................228 Idealtypes of political culture in Europe .....................................................240 Patterns of political culture...

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