How to keep control? Everyday practices of governing urban marginality in a time of massive outmigration in Hungary

Megjelent Kovai Cecília és Virág Tünde "How to keep control? Everyday practices of governing urban marginality in a time of massive outmigration in Hungary" c. könyvfejezete a Routledge kiadó "Austerity Across Europe: Lived Experiences of Economic Crises" c. tanulmánykötetében (szerk. Sarah Marie Hall, Helena Pimlott-Wilson, John Horton). A fejezet elérhető: ITT.


Recent migration from peripheral to core countries within Europe, including the massive outmigration of educated middle-class people, can be interpreted as a consequence of the global economic crisis after 2008. It led not only to significant population loss but also to the fragmentation of local urban societies. Based on a case study of a shrinking Hungarian second-tier town, we analyse the room of manoeuvre of the local government to manage different aspects of this fragmentation, such as social and ethnic relations, the demographic composition of the local population, mobility aspirations of the citizens, urban marginality and political sympathies. Although the local governments have only limited tools and opportunities to control the effect of outmigration, one of the most important of these is to govern and discipline marginalised social groups within the town through involving them in different development projects aiming to improve their housing conditions and employment situation. During the implementation of these development projects the local government, through the tactic of informal paternalism, can discipline the marginalised groups, whose participation in the development process usually depends on their loyalty and ‘merits’. Due to the massive outmigration process, the growing demographic dominance of marginalised social groups strengthens the fear of non-marginalised groups, while at the same time their importance in preserving political power increases. Through the everyday practises of political clientelism, the local government uses the loyal minority self-government and the Roma non-governmental organisations to maximise potential voters in the elections.