Research results of the Institute for Minority Studies in 2018

Research carried out within project Minority Competences

The central aim of the research project The school is not an island. Educational and social resilience in multi-ethnic environment financed by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office is to explore the factors that make a school successful. Although school performance is to a significant degree determined by family background, the ways in which pupils can build upon external and internal characteristics of their environment to achieve success remains an open question. This phenomenon, resilience was studied in the first stage of the research using statistics, and in the second stage using qualitative methods. In the course of the year data collection continued, but based on the field research some important results can be formulated: 1. Statistical resilience is not easily detected in everyday school practice. 2. The concept of resilience has to be reconceptualised, not as a criteria of success, but as a tool to maintain a certain level of success. 3. The diversity of the teaching methods is not necessarily related to school resilience, traditional, frontal instruction can also lead to resilient success maintenance. 4. Although the main hypothesis was, that the school is not an island, the changes in the operation of schools have resulted in a situation in which schools have lost direct contact with the local municipality and the community and therefore function indeed as an island. 5. School segregation is strong, and the phenomenon of white flight was strengthened by the increase in the proportion of church-run schools.

The analyses based on the survey data collected in the project Genezys 2015 on youth in the Carpathian basin continued. After the publication of a comprehensive volume in 2017, the aim is to publish a second volume, which focuses on dual citizenship, migration, prejudices, media consumption, language use, cultural patterns and consumption, economy and ethnicity.

As part of the research project Social mobility and ethnicity: trajectories, outcomes, and the hidden costs of educational mobility financed by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office, the databases of Tárki-Educatio Career survey, and the programmes and non-profit institutions fostering the social mobility of disadvantaged persons, especially Roma by means of education, were analysed. In two of such institutions participatory observation and interviewing was started.

The project entitled ‘The Institutionalization of Ethnic Economy among Hungarians in Romania and Slovakia’ is supported by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office. In 2018 the research examined the informal economic relations and common pool resource management practices in six multi-ethnic rural regions in Romania (4) and Slovakia (2). Case-study methods were used, involving participant observation, interviews and focus groups with local community leaders, managers of common pool resource organizations and entrepreneurs. 

The “Diversity and welfare in Transylvania” project is funded by the Bolyai Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. During the first year the project examined the relationship between ethno-linguistic diversity and economic well-being in Transylvania, based on several existing statistical data sources. The results so far show that the Romanian language skills of Transylvanian Hungarians are deteriorating and the labour market is punishing it. Surprisingly, the “bridging”-type connections with the Romanians do not bring relative labour market or economic benefits to the vast majority of Hungarians in Transylvania. Another important conclusion is that there is a growing ethnic polarization in the economy, the development of “parallel societies” is on the increase, which does not favour the welfare chances of the Transylvanian Hungarian population, which is increasingly concentrated in underdeveloped regions.

Research projects on identity politics

During the year, the research project Identity Politics as a Response to the Social Conflicts in Relation to European, National and Local Contexts was focused on solidarity and the transnational causes and forms of social conflicts. The edited book in English which summarizes the results of the research, explores, first of all, the subjective motivations of the solidarity and the background of the life experiences, secondly the institutional forms of solidarity, and thirdly compares in international context the relation of solidarity, civil society and transnational processes.

The Szekler Flag as the Materialization of Nationhood. The doctoral research focuses on the Szekler flag, and its main research questions are as follows: How can the feeling of national belonging be materialized? How was the flag designed, and how did it become an everyday used object through the process of commodification? What kind of meaning did this regional flag gain in the context of Hungarian politics? The method of the research followed the rules of “multi-sited ethnography”, interviews and participatory research. The research reveals the hidden contexts of the belonging, firstly, how nationhood is embedded in the social structures, secondly, how the classificatory struggles influence the national belonging in the frame of the political/civil/scientific groups. Thirdly, the research highlights the everyday relevance of the question, those practices which are suitable to show national belonging.

Research projects on immigrants and migration

Within the framework of HAS Excellence Cooperation Program Mobility Research Centre, the institutionalization process of Hungarian diaspora in the United Kingdom was examined through qualitative interviews and participant observation. An online questionnaire was created for the purpose of survey among Hungarians living abroad and a separate sub-project is dealing with the issue of international higher education mobility as well.

Hungarians in Germany. Security and solidarity in a transnational environment. The purpose of the joint research with Humboldt University was to explore the labour market situation of the Hungarians living and working in Germany, their relative well-being, and the structural relationships of their successes and failures. It also aims to reveal the impact of intra-EU migration experience on the assessment of those arriving outside Europe, within the context of competition, security and solidarity. Survey data are complemented by interviews, which aim to reveal the qualitative contexts of the above issues, and in particular the connection among transnational forms of solidarity and charity, individual motivations, and life stories. In 2018 both the survey and qualitative data were elaborated and analysed. These results were presented at various national and international conferences and in publications.

As part of the international RESOMA (Research Social Platform on Migration and Asylum) research project, qualitative interviews were conducted in 3-3 policy domains of asylum and migration management with experts from governmental, NGO and academic sector. The collected data were presented in a report.

The unknown refugees. With the support of the German Marion Dönhoff Foundation, research was conducted focusing on migrants from Vojvodina living in Germany and ex-Yugoslavian (mainly ethnic Hungarians, Serbs and Roma) return migrants. In addition to the interviews literature review, collection of related media materials and studies are in progress.

Post-colonial and post-socialist perceptions of global hierarchies. The case of Indonesians and Hungarians living in the Netherlands. The doctoral research aims to conduct a comparative analysis of the perception of global hierarchies among Indonesians and Hungarians living in the Netherlands.


Research projects related to Hungarians living in the neighbouring countries

Self-image construction of the Szekler Land in the 19th and 20th centuries. The research supported by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office and launched in 2018 aims to explore the historical construction of the regional identity of the Szekler Land as well as to identify and detect the operators of the process. As a first series of results, a joint conference was held with the Trianon 100 Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, which will be followed by the publication of a volume. Preparations have been made for the English language publication of the History of the Szekler Land. Similarly, two doctoral dissertations were finalized on the topic. Furthermore, the assessment and collection of life interview programs in the Szekler Land took place.

The research project on Minority Hungarian Communities in the 20th Century examines the institutionalisation and community operation of minority Hungarian networks that are organised on an ethnocultural basis through databases, bibliographies, digital libraries, document collections, monographs, and chronologies. During 2018, the following projects were completed within the research: a publication of an English-language volume of the social relations of the Hungarian minority in Romania; a settlement-based database on the ethnic and denominational relations of Vojvodina between 1860 and 2011; Transcarpathia in 1944 (monograph and collection of documents); digital libraries ( on the basic documents of the Romanian-Hungarian relationship, on the Who is Who among Transylvanian Hungarians, and on the methodological literature of local history; a bibliography on the historical literature of Romania and the Hungarian minority in Transylvania between 1990 and 2015; the publication of the studies of the Hungarian politician Oszkar Petrogallai and the monography of Ernő Ligeti; the compilation of Hungarian social history texts in Vojvodina from the interwar period; the editing of chronological databases from Ukraine, Slovakia, and Romania between 1918 and 2015; and the history and documentation of the establishment of the Hungarian National Council in Serbia.

The image of Romanians in Transylvanian Hungarian diaries and memoirs, 1914–1922. The aim of the project is to provide the Bucharest-based Humanitas publishing house with a compilation of annotated Transylvanian Hungarian diary entries from the time and aftermath of World War I that shows the transformation of the image of Romanians in the era.

The research project on the Hungarian kin-state policy of the Budapest-based governments examines the activities of Hungarian governments in relation to Hungarian minority and diaspora communities from 1918 to the present. During 2018, lectures were dedicated to kin-state policy, and a digital library and a report were prepared on the topic of multiculturalism in Hungary.

Regarding the researches on Ukraine, the country has been at the centre of international attention since 2014, and thus it has offered the Institute many opportunities for media appearances, as well for prestigious domestic and international publications. The Centre for Social Sciences is a leader in Hungary in terms of presenting current events, focusing on deeper historical reasons in the analytical discourse, and in some cases even defining the discourse on Ukraine.

Minority question in Hungarian-Romanian diplomatic relations during István Bethlen's government. Within the basic research financed by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office, a source manuscript has been prepared for publication, and some of the results of the research have been published in several Hungarian and English publications.

Self-image of Hungarians in Vojvodina, 1945-1990. Within the framework of this doctoral research, the processing of previous sociographic and sociological works in the given social, political, and cultural contexts of Vojvodina took place during 2018.

The PhD research project “Ethnic non-profit organizations and their characteristics” studies the operation of organisations, primarily non-profits, of minorities in three locations (Košice, Pécs and Timisoara) by means of interviews and survey data collection, and in the three countries using data on the grant systems providing financial support to minority organisations. In 2018 data analysis was carried out, and the draft of the dissertation was written, which will be discussed in 2019. The results were presented in numerous conferences and publications.

Research projects on minority rights and ethnopolitics

The aim of the MIME - Mobility and Inclusion in a Multilingual Europe EU FP7 research is to review the international legislation on minority language rights, identify the main problems the EU policy on multilingualism is facing and make policy recommendations for their solution. One of its results, the MIME Vademecum is a collection of 72 linguistic policy questions, including articles written by the team (Task 1.3), which was published in 2018. The forthcoming book will contain a chapter summarizing the research results on the international regime of minority language rights and the legal and social context of multilingualism in Vojvodina. These results were also presented at several international conferences.

The aim of the research entitled Bilateral Treaties and Minority Protection in Central and South-Eastern Europe and funded by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office is to explore the extent to which minority protection norms of bilateral treaties ratified in Central and South-Eastern Europe have been realised. Special attention is paid to the historical and political context in which bilateral treaties between Hungary and its neighbours and other agreements with minority protection dimension have been concluded as well as to the experiences and dilemmas related to their implementation. A comprehensive study on the cooperation between Italy and Croatia as well as Italy and Slovenia in the field of minority rights protection was published in 2018. A forthcoming book will contain analyses on the minority treaty between Hungary and Slovenia.

The Internal Dynamics of Non-Territorial Autonomy Regimes in Central and South-eastern Europe: a Five-Country Comparison. The aim of the postdoctoral project supported by National Research, Development and Innovation Office is to analyse the main features of minority elections in a comparative manner, in five countries (Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Serbia, and Slovenia), which constitute an integral part of non-territorial autonomous regimes in the region. In the third year of the project, the relevant international and Hungarian literature was explored, and data collection for the electoral databases was finished. In addition to the interviews with relevant stakeholders in Hungary, interviews were conducted in Serbia with politicians, minority leaders and experts. The project results were presented in various domestic and international conferences and several Hungarian and English articles were published or submitted to journals. The monograph on the main findings of the project as well as the online electoral will be completed by the beginning of 2019.    

Research projects on Roma communities

Researching Roma communities in the 21st century by modern research methods. Using the results of the earlier researches and with the help of modern quantitative and qualitative research tools, the purpose of the research program is to develop and testify a research method that allows conducting representative Roma researches based on empirical data. During the course of the year the actual fieldwork took place in Nógrád county and its results were presented by the participants in a conference. The finalization of the final volume of studies is in progress.

The adoption of Roma children in Hungary. This research project initiated in 2018 explores and analyses the viewpoints, considerations and ideologies that have contributed in recent years to the increase of adoptions of Roma children, in particular children above age three. Adoption research, with a special focus on the adoption of transnational, culturally, socially and visibly different children, has developed into an important area of international family research in the past decade. The project on the adoption of Roma children studies the ethno-political visions of adoptive parents, a high proportion of whom are highly educated urban professionals. The review of relevant literature was followed by the analysis of focal issues of Hungarian adoption related blogs and internet sites. The first results were presented at the international conference of the European Society on Family Research.

Issues related to the education of the Roma in the light of the pedagogical vocational press – Educational programs, plans and projects that support and hinder the integration of a community in a social peripheral situation between 1978 and 1998. The doctoral research deals with the educational models, strategies that were published about the education of the Roma children in the most important national pedagogical reviews’ columns. During the course of the year a database of articles and a research summary were made. The research summary was presented in the framework of a manuscript discussion. Based on the latter, the dissertation is expected to be submitted and defended in early 2019.


Research projects in Jewish studies

Jewish education and children’s institutions in Hungary 1945-1956: the goal of the research, which received funding in the form of a Bolyai Scholarship, was to look at children’s institutions in the period after the Holocaust, and to place them in an international context. The results of the research can be found in several articles, in English as well as in Hungarian, some of them are not yet published. The manuscript of a Hungarian volume summarizing the result is under preparation.

Jewish scout organizations: their history and memory. This research project started in 2018, and its goal is to look at the history of Jewish scout organizations based on contemporary source material, memoirs and objects. Besides interviews and oral history, there has been research done in various archives, including Gödöllő, Szeged and Pécs as well as the Municipal Archive of Budapest. The first results of the research will be published in a thematic block in the Regio in the first half of 2019.

The Jewish Heritage of Szeged. The Rothschild Foundation (London) supports this research project, led by HAS-University of Szeged Religious Culture Research Group and the Jewish University in Budapest. Its goal is the digitalization and publication of archival material from the past 200 years, and a scholarly registry of objects in the community. After the textile objects, now the Hebrew inscription on memorial plaques, metal, wooden and stone objects have been prepared, and are under publication. As part of the cooperation there is the publication of the Jewish Studies Bulletin of Szeged, which had two issues in 2018.

The history and role of the synagogue in Rumbach Sebestyén Street in Budapest in Hungarian Jewish memory politics. Research has been done, materials have been collected in press, in various archives, including the Alba Regia’s company archive in Székesfehérvár, the Jewish Archive and the Municipal Archive in Budapest. A Hungarian article has been published based on research materials.

The history of Yiddish culture in Hungary. The aim of the research project is to look at Yiddish historical sources from Hungary. A part of this larger research project, there was a research from the perspective of historical sociolinguistics, looking at on remnants of Yiddish in current Hungarian culture and language, on what happened to Yiddish after language assimilation of Hungarian Jews – an article has been published on the topic in English. Another aspect of the larger project has been a research on Yiddish troops and theatre performances in historical Hungary, looking at their repertoire and actors. In its first phase, the research concentrated on printed press in the interwar years in the territories of Transcarpathian Ruthenia and Transylvania, in Hungarian and in Yiddish. The material is very sporadic, it needs to be contextualized and analyzed.

The commemoration of the Holocaust on early memorials. The aim of the project is to look at how the surviving community remembered the victims of the Holocaust in the early years, between 1945 and 1949, on memorials they erected. The results of the research have been published in an article in Hungarian.

The history of Hungarian Jewish scholarship. Widely acclaimed accomplishments of Hungarian Jewish scholarship were the product of “moderately progressive” (so-called Neolog) Jewry, for the most part. The research project looks at the history of Hungarian Jewish scholarship in its Central-European context, and its role in building Neolog identities. Part of the results has been published in several articles in English.  

The history of Neolog ideology. The structure, modus operandi, and ideology of the main groups or streams of Hungarian Jewry today are shaped (directly or indirectly) by the platform and principles of conservative-liberal Neolog ideology – mainly a construction of the second half of the nineteenth century. The research project aims at a systematic presentation of this ideological platform, with all its internal dilemmas and controversies. The research also demonstrates the impact of Christian denominational models and ideologies on the struggle between progressive and conservative Jewry in Hungary in the formative mid-third of the nineteenth century. Two English articles were published related to the research.

The micro-historical analysis of a Jewish family in Western Hungary. The doctoral research seeks to analyze the social mobility strategies of the Lackenbacher family members who were influential in the local Jewish community in Nagykanizsa throughout the 19th century. Archival research was conducted with regard to their role in military transportation, and the first results were presented in various studies and conference papers. 

Jewish military service in the Habsburg Monarchy in the context of Jewish religious law. Military service raised severe religious problems, particularly among conservative (orthodox) Jews. Nevertheless, in Hungary even Orthodox rabbis encouraged (with some caveats) Jewish military service with patriotic enthusiasm. The research, which will be published in English and in Hungarian, analyzes the peculiar features of this Hungarian Orthodox Jewish patriotism.   

Research projects on the minorities living in Hungary

The aim of the research Germans in Hungary between 1950 and 1990 financed by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office is to present the history of Germans in Hungary between 1950 and 1990 in a monograph. During the year, collecting and exploring of archival sources focused on how the local German communities organized themselves, and what kind of division of labour existed between the higher and lower levels of the state power regarding the national minorities in Hungary. In this period, the exploration of archival sources in Berlin concentrated on the development of German-Hungarian cultural relations.

“Die helfte hier und die helfte zu hause” - The history of Germans in Hungary from 1944 to 1953. The aim of the international research is to explore the circumstances and political, economic and social aspects of the migration processes that affected Hungary after World War II. Such processes include the resettlement of people within the country, the expulsion of the ethnic German population, the Slovak-Hungarian population exchange, the relocation (“bringing home”) of the Szeklers from Bukovina, and measures to cope with the arrival of Hungarian refugees from neighbouring countries. In this year the introductory study was finished, which summarizes the principle of collective guilt in relation to the Germans living in Hungary after World War II, the motivations of their punishment, the ways of its implementation, the territorial differences, and after all, the attitudes of the Hungarian population. 

Data identified in archival sources and newspapers of Germans in Hungary have been integrated into a database in the frame of the research entitled Local and Regional Activities of German Organizations in Hungary between 1924 and 1945 and funded by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office. The online database with maps will be available on the website of the Institute from the first half of 2019.

Articles related directly or indirectly to German immigration and published in the weekly newspapers of Germans in Hungary between the two world wars were analysed in the frame of the research project entitled The Place of Immigration in the Memory Politics Related Aspirations of German Organizations in Hungary (1920–1945). The research also focused on the question to what extent memory political efforts of the Ungarländisch-Deutscher Volksbildungsverein and the Volksbund had differed and on the role the immigration issue had played in these differences. The first partial results of the research were published in a book chapter.

The research entitled The history of the Germans in Hungary in the first half of the 20th century and started in 2018 focuses on the analysis of local communities on the basis of archival sources. The first partial results were presented in the form of a lecture and published in a book chapter.