Hungary

The subproject on Hungary seeks to provide a thorough and nuanced understanding of the combination of populism and conspiracy theories in the political communication of populist parties in Hungary.

Looking beyond rhetorical or performance-focused accounts of populism and quantitative studies on conspiracist beliefs, the research combines critical discourse analysis with anthropological research methods (such as participant observation and unstructured conversations) and qualitative semi-structured interviews in order to gain a deeper understanding of the interplay of the two phenomena in the political context of Hungary. Aside from a thorough qualitative investigation of populist-conspiracist articulations in the political campaign for the 2022 parliamentary elections, the project addresses the history of, and general attitudes towards conspiracy theories in the country as well as their connection to the manifestations of populism and political discourses across the political spectrum.

The project attempts to provide answers to the following questions: How did the intersection of populism and conspiracy theorizing evolve, and why did it occur in certain political parties’ discourses? To what extent does conspiracist-populist rhetoric resonate with the voters? How do ordinary party members relate to conspiracist articulations, how do they justify, accept or negotiate their party’s turn to conspiracy theorizing? How does the open use of conspiracy theories by mainstream political parties relate to the stigmatization of such discourses in the political culture of Hungary?