Robert Laszlo Gyorgyi
The Role of Music in Promoting Cultural Hegemony During Hungarian National Commemorations under The System of National Cooperation
University of Manchester
This thesis examines the role of music in promoting cultural hegemony during Hungarian national commemorations under the post-2010 Fidesz government led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The study focuses on four national holidays, examining how musical performances and symbolic ceremonies, all associated with struggles for independence and sovereignty, have been used to build an imagined community of ‘the people’ and exclude ‘the others’ and ‘the elite’ through the construction of populist discourses. The study uses a theoretical framework that recognises musics’ potential to shape public perception and its role in constructing national identity and reinforcing political creeds. By analysing emotional and symbolic dimensions of the selected songs, it explores how music is employed as a tool to reinforce cultural hegemony. The thesis also investigates the implications of the governments’ cultural policies for the music industry and cultural diversity in Hungary, highlighting how musicians and other cultural producers respond to the governments’ cultural policies in the context of music commemorations. Additionally, it analyses how official cultural policies intersect with broader debates about identity, nationalism, and democracy in Central Europe and beyond.
Cold War studies,
traditional and folk music.
‘Whose Cziffra? – Cultural Diplomacy in the Cold War and the Political Value of a Dissident Artist’, Music and Censorship in the 20th and 21st Centuries: Historical, Political and Social Context (Brepols: Turnhout, 2025)