NATIONAL IDENTITY - PLURAL? SHATTERED? LOST? HUNGARIANS ABROAD AND THE FAILURES OF THE CENTRE-RIGHT IN HUNGARIAN ELECTIONS
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While national identity and nationalism have long been recognized as being comprised of numerous components, they are often assumed to be singular and unified phenomena, covering the whole of any given nation. Typologies of the varieties of nationalisms (eastern–western, civic, ethnic, etc.) are generally based upon such assumptions. Another assumption often made is that ethnic nationalisms are more exclusive than civic forms of national identity. Through the example of just one aspect, that of the place held by co-ethnics who are not citizens of the national state, the author demonstrates that the assumption made by some Hungarian politicians and social scientists of the homogeneity of national identity, and attempts to mobilize it, has repeatedly led to failure in elections. The differences he demonstrates in perceptions of this single aspect of national identity in Hungary pose a challenge to assumptions made about the unified nature of nationalism, and have implications for other nations with large populations of co-ethnics living outside their state borders.
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