Handbook of European Social Policy
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Handbook of European Social Policy

Edited by Patricia Kennett and Noemi Lendvai-Bainton

This Handbook will comprise of 29 original pieces from key contributors to the field of European social policy. It is intended to capture the ‘state of the art’ in European social policy and to generate and contribute to debates on the the future of European social policy in the 21st Century. It will be a comprehensive and authoritative resource for research and teaching covering themes and policy areas including social exclusion, pensions, education, children and family, as well as mobility and migration, multiculturalism, and climate change.
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Chapter 24: Radical politics in post-crisis Hungary: illiberal democracy, neoliberalism and the end of the welfare state

Noemi Lendvai-Bainton


Within the context of the contemporary populist backlash in Europe, this chapter interrogates the intersectionality of populism, nationalism and authoritarian neoliberalism as a particular temporality of radical politics in Hungary. The rise of authoritarian neoliberalism in Hungary will be conceptualized as a nationalist steering of the ‘competition state’ with extensive state interventions and new technologies of government without the ideological celebration of markets or valorization of market mechanisms. The distinctively anti-market discourses at play in building an internationally competitive state, foreshadows a kind of neoliberalism without liberalism. The variegated stateness (the debt state, the unorthodox state, the illiberal state and the neoliberal state) facilitates the emergence of illiberal neoliberalism, which is a product of both unique historical and domestic trajectories, as well as of the European integration project. Crucially, this newly emerging regime marks the discursive end of the welfare state, in its populist attack on the welfare state establishment.

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