Morals of Precarity: Artistic Trajectories under the Orbán Regime of Hungary
This article analyses the career path of young cultural producers in Hungary. We show how they navigate in the everyday life of the Orbán regime. We define the social and political formation emerging after 2010 as a form of semi-peripheral hegemony that supports certain factors of international capital and strengthens its allied local bourgeoisie. We investigate culture not merely as an ideological underpinning of this regime but also as a commodity that is integrated into its new economic mechanisms.
By utilizing primary and secondary quantitative data as well as qualitative methods of interview and policy-analysis, we focus on how the hegemonic process of the Orbán regime mingles incorporation and exclusion. We outline Janus-faced cultural politics and a policy that rules the heteronomous pole of cultural production by an “economic rationality”, while more direct forms of “ideological control” are employed on the autonomous pole. By showing how the previous decade was characterized by a precarization of cultural work, we argue that current artistic careers are highly reliant either on incomes from the creative industry or on the sphere of social reproduction. As we conclude, this vulnerability can open a path for a certain authoritarian deepening under the COVID-19 crisis.