Pursuing the familiar foreigner : the resurgence of antisemitism and nationalism in Hungary since 1989 / by Jeffrey Stevenson Murer.
This thesis describes and explains the resurgence of antisemitism and irredentist nationalism in Hungary since 1989. I argue that these virulent reactions to the “secondary traumas” associated with the collapse of “Realize Socialism” are a reproduction of the reactions to (what became) the “Chosen Trauma” of the Treaty of Trianon of 1920. The humiliating surrender of territory mandated by that treaty engendered a collective defense mechanism by means of which a previously “familiar” part of the Hungarian collectivity—Hungarian Jewry—was transformed into a dangerous “foreigner” that was blamed for the “mutilation” that the collectivity was unable to accept. Thus the failure to mourn the losses of Trianon—what Vamik Volkan calls “established pathological mourning”—and hatred of the “abject” Jew became two sides of the same pathologically defensive cultural coin. These twin mechanisms of cultural defense were reawakened, in turn, by the losses associated with the fall of Communism and the destabilizing imposition of advanced capitalism in Hungary. Thus the prospects for overcoming contemporary Hungarian antisemitism and irredentist nationalism depend on the disruption of this “linking cycle” and the inauguration of a process through which the Hungarian collectivity would simultaneously mourn the losses associated with Trianon and reinvigorate itself through the reincorporation of the Hungarian Jewry and its cultural heritage.
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