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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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Interests and Strategies. An Investigation of the Political Elite of the Sub-Carpathian Region in the Age of Dualism (1867–1918)

Extract

András Cieger

Aim and methodology

As late as 1890, 84% of the population of Hungary were under the jurisdiction of counties; the county was the scene of their everyday activities and their social lives, with most Hungarians setting up their enterprises and weaving the networks of personal connections within the boundaries of their own counties, and the county also providing the various forums where enfranchised voters could express their political will and communicate their views. The present investigation focuses on the leaders of this local public life. We assume that a knowledge of the selection of the local political elite and of their interests offers the best way to study the interaction between politics on the national (“central”) and local (“particular”) levels.

We aim to build such knowledge by investigating the political elite of a well-defined, smaller region, comprising four counties in the north-east of the Hungarian Kingdom (Bereg, Ung, Ugocsa and Máramaros, now variously in Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania). The region’s varied ethnic and religious composition favours the study of coexistence between different nationalities and denominations, with special regard to the ability to enforce political interests, to the expression of views, to probable conflicts and to differing forms of behaviour. The local political elite can be defined primarily by their positions. At the county level, we regard Lord Lieutenants (főispán), county commissioners (alispán) and members of parliament as belonging to this group, while aware that the circle...

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