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Elites and Politics in Central and Eastern Europe (1848–1918)

Edited By Judit Pál and Vlad Popovici

The volume deals with the evolution and metamorphoses of the political elite in the Habsburg lands and the neighbouring countries during the long 19 th century. It comprises fourteen studies, compiled by both renowned scholars in the field and young researchers from Central and Eastern Europe. The research targets mainly parliamentary elites, with occasional glimpses on political clubs and economic elites. The main subjects of interest are changes in the social-professional composition of the representative assemblies and inner power plays and generation shifts. The collection of studies also focuses on the growing pressure brought by emerging nationalisms as well as electoral corruption and political patronage.
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← 6 | 7 → Foreword


The idea of publishing this book grew out of research carried out in the past few years within the project “The Political Elite from Transylvania (1867–1918)”.1 Starting from the recovery and prosopographic analysis of Members of Parliament in Hungary elected in the Transylvanian constituencies, we felt there was a need for parallels at the Central and Eastern European level. Without such a perspective, our conclusions could not go beyond the stage of regional history research, given also that the comparative perspective is ever more pervasive in European historiography.2

The topic of this book has stirred major historiographic interest, due especially to the complex legacy of the Habsburg Empire. This interest underwent a resurgence following the collapse of Communism in 1989, and in the post-Communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe discussions about the difficulties of change also encompassed the formation of civil society, namely the historical roots of the political system and political culture. Studying the historical development of political and social structures was an essential prerequisite for understanding the changes which took place in this area during the first half of the twentieth century. The structure of the parliamentary elite not only mirrors power relations in a certain period, but also reveals aspects of how a country’s entire political system functions, as well as the changes it undergoes during that period.

The study of parliamentarism, of political parties, deputies, etc. goes a long way back and has been a topic for research in...

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