1st Edition

Changing Legal and Civic Culture in an Illiberal Democracy A Social Psychological Survey of the Hungarian Legal System

    140 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    140 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Changing Legal and Civic Culture in an Illiberal Democracy is a unique empirical study on recent developments in legal and civic consciousness in Hungary. Drawing its methodology from social psychology, this book illuminates a shift in legal consciousness during the time in which Orbán’s government has cemented Hungary’s reputation as an illiberal democracy.

    The book foregrounds the voices of the Hungarian population in how they view the shift towards increasingly right-wing politics and an erosion of the rule of law. It opens with an extensive theoretical introduction of the historical development and psychological dimensions of legal consciousness in Hungary and relates the Hungarian research to international developments. It then presents its empirical results and offers a jargon-free account of ordinary people’s changing perceptions of their relationship to Hungary’s civic and legal cultures, before finally examining the correlations between surveys. Methodologically, the book establishes that theories of legal consciousness and social change are bolstered by empirical data.

    Offering a new way of approaching shifts in legal consciousness and the rule of law in Balkan and Eastern European countries, this text will be of great interest to researchers and students of social psychology, law, international relations and Central European studies.

    1. Introduction 

    2. Objectives

    3. Theoretical background

    4. Methodology

    5. Survey findings

    6. Individual and society

    7. Law, crime and the justice system

    8. Criticism of the system and world views

    9. Changing views on the law and civil society between 2010 and 2018

    10. Correlations and conclusions 

    11. Appendix


    István H. Szilágyi is Professor of Law at Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary.

    László Kelemen is a practicing Attorney at Law, who took a PhD in Psychology from the University of Pécs in 2014, Hungary. He is the author of two books in the area of law and psychology.

    Sam Gilchrist Hall is Senior Lecturer in English at Károli Gáspár University, Budapest and Visiting Lecturer at the Central European University, Vienna.

    "How could Hungary become a willing laboratory for Orban’s corrupt populist autocracy and illiberalism? This excellent book fills a crucial gap in the literature, offering a rare empirical analysis of how Hungarians think about the law, politics and their nation. Tribalism and populism represent a mortal threat for liberal democracies, and we urgently need to understand why voters succumb to radical illiberal ideologies. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in politics, law, psychology and social issues, and will be of interest to researchers, students and practitioners in all areas of the social sciences."

    Professor Joe Forgas, Scientia Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney