Publications of Cecilia Kovai

Facing the Far-Right. Ethnographic portrayals of local civil resistance

Interethnic relations of Roma and non-Roma in Hungary are marked by a long history of local (ethnic) conflicts since the regime change of 1989. Conflicts persist to this day, although they are changing in nature. From the mid-2000s, Hungary has seen a political crisis leading to the rise of the extreme right, accompanied by a ‘racial turn’ in mainstream discourses and in certain policy areas. Political changes, in turn, have also shaped the nature of local ethnic conflicts. The usual scenario is that the far right, through its unofficial paramilitary organizations, has been organizing hate marches in local communities with ethnically mixed populations to mobilize locals and instigate hatred against the Roma in order to win the political support of the majority. With the two anthropological case studies presented in this volume we hope to offer some insight into this issue through the analysis and portrayal of some ‘best practices’ of Roma self-mobilization and local civil resistance to the far-right. In addition, we explore how local communities where the far-right had organized demonstrations and hate marches have been subverted, how social ties were torn and, in general, what social, moral and symbolic damages have been done within the communities following these events.