Self-image of Hungarians in Vojvodina, 1945-1990

Principal investigator: György Horváth

Period: 2018 - 2020

Research questions and objectives:

The research titled The self-image of Hungarians in Vojvodina, 1945-1990 is my PhD topic. Through the analysis of some periodicals and newspapers, as well as collections, I present what the community that found itself in a minority position saw from its own situation, how it saw its present, and what its future plans were, for example, in institution building. The conclusion is that intellectuals were in fact aware of the increasingly difficult situation of the community, particularly in terms of education, economic and political positions, labor market positions, and demography, including emigration. 

Research history:

I took part in several researches on Hungarians in Vojvodina, but I also wrote studies and books on the period of socialism. This community is thought to have been disadvantaged primarily by the Yugoslav wars and the exodus exodus that began after 2010, but research may point out that negative developments have occurred in almost every area of life, specifically since the 1960s, which many, on the other hand, consider to be a golden age.

After 1990, the Hungarian intelligentsia in Vojvodina remembers in a special way what and how it happened, what they thought. The (self) accusation of betraying their community is constantly brought up. In the first stage of the research, it became apparent that this was a myth, so I was primarily looking for sociographers, and writers whose oeuvre proves the opposite.

Research methods:

In addition to the background discussions and the memoirs, recollections and interviews after 1990, the raw materials of the analysis are the sociographs, sociological works, reports, interviews, analyzes and discussions published in Hungarian between 1945 and 1990 in Vojvodina.

I present narratives primarily in connection with the oeuvres or works of certain individuals, such as the literary scholar Imre Bori, the writer János Herceg, the journalist István Németh, the demographer Károly Mirnics, the political scientist László Rehák and others who are prominent persons in both public and political-cultural life, and although their themes were often the same, they sometimes saw the situation in different contexts, but basically, despite the socialist framework, they nevertheless created a kind of minority discourse.

Research results in 2019:

As part of the PhD dissertation, approx. 350 pages of text were written, and two more chapters, approx. 40-40 pages in length are left to write, which will be completed by March.

In addition to this technical result, the dissertation can bring something new in that I “uncover” several myths that the “communist” intelligentsia of the time betrayed its nation, i.e. the Hungarian minority.

In addition, due to the summative nature of the studies, it can be a good starting point for further research due to the amount of data, because so far literary history works have been written. This work, on the other hand, is more of an idea-historical nature and also fills a gap in the history of Hungarian sociography in Vojvodina and (barely existing) sociology there.

Previous research results:

In my volume Vajdasági Lakoma (Feast of Vojvodina), I elaborated on the history of the New Symposium in Novi Sad, so this research is a continuation and supplement of the previous work, although from completely different perspectives. While there was mainly literary works and polemics, as well as the situation of the public itself, social, albeit often journalistic, naive sociological and mainly sociographic works were discussed here.

In several of my studies, I have dealt with the situation of the community after 1990, such as the effects of war, the situation of bilingualism and multilingualism, or emigration (which has become a defining process since the 1960s). The same applies to the decline of cultural institutions (while they were created in the current period of research), marginalization, ruralization, the state of education.