Elite Circulation in the Hungarian Cultural Elite. A Case Study of Theatres

Luca Kristóf


Recent literature on Hungary seems to be conclusive about the fact that elite consensus has collapsed and democracy is backsliding towards autocracy because of the elites’ norm-breaking behavior (Lengyel 2014; Bozóki 2015; Kristóf 2015). It is also recognized that the governmental elite has been gaining influence and power over other elite groups. Since 2010, the ruling political elite has reallocated property rights, public and EU funds to new loyal economic elites who are much more closely controlled by the political elite (Csillag and Szelényi 2015). Though less the focus of scientific inquiry, a similar process has occurred in the field of culture: the incumbent political elite aspires to eliminate old cultural structures in order to redistribute cultural positions and resources. This case study is based on interviews with leaders of theatres, cultural policy-makers and the most renowned actors and directors in the Hungarian theatrical field. Interviews are supplemented with discourse analysis about the circulation of the theatre elite, and a public opinion poll (N=500) about the reputation of two emblematic figures of the old and the new elite.


cultural field, reputational elite, positional elite, conflicts, circulation

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14267/cjssp.2017.3S.13


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ISSN: 2062-087X

DOI: 10.14267/issn.2062-087X