Memory Politics in Hungary – Interview with Dr. Ildikó Barna

Dr. Ildikó Barna is Associate Professor of Sociology at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE)


Dr. Barna describes how memory politics can serve democracy and democratic values, – if it is a shared memory. This is not the case in Hungary. There is no ‘national minimum’, which could agree on certain key points in society. For example, each group in Hungary has a different opinion on who is responsible for the Holocaust. Everything in Hungarian society is debated. As such, memory represents and sparks clashes in society and not unity. Dr. Barna explains how Orbán’s conservative government has been strategically using memory politics to gain power by recreating the right conservative identity. ‘Civil circles’ have served the purpose of creating a movement of emotions to build a common conservative identity in the country.

This interview is part of the interview series ” Expert Voices on Memory Politics” realized with the financial support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Kanada and the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union. The interviews were recorded during the October 2022 conference “Addressing the Past – Shaping the Future”.