Youth and the State in Hungary takes as its focus the nature of Hungary’s youth movements over the last seventy years. In a detailed ethnographic study, Laszlo Kurti examines the lives of youth workers in the Csepel district of Budapest in the context of the wider political and economic transformations witnessed during the twentieth century. Kurti follows State-Youth relations from the inter-war capitalism that made peasants into workers, through the post war state socialism – ‘Stalinism’ and after – to the reintroduction of capitalism in 1990. This substantial time frame allows an exploration of the transformations and dilemmas of youth, class, gender and ethnicity as they develop across time. In the course of this study two main themes emerge: the reproduction of class in youth culture across shifting socio-economic conditions; and the mobilisation of youth movements in resistance to the state. Youth and the State in Hungary challenges the orthodox equation of youth and resistance by arguing that youth mobilisation has, in fact, served the interests of the state. Nevertheless there remains a genuine space for resistance and contestation in the reproduction of youth culture.
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