Anikó Imre

Senior Joint Budapest Fellow
Period of Stay: 
October - December 2023
Media and Communications
University of Southern California
Project Title: 
Semi-Peripheral Fantasies: Worldbuilding in Eastern and Central European Media
Project Abstract: 

The main goal of this research project is to shed light on the contradictory relationship between the resurgence of defensive, populist nationalism and the unfettered advancement of global, digital media in the post-socialist states of the European Union. I argue that this relationship is not actually paradoxical; rather, it revolves around shared fantasies, fictions and mythologies between the two phenomena. Central and Eastern Europe, as a semi-peripheral region, has emerged as a crucial resource for such fantasies and a platform for “worldbuilding,” a term borrowed from fantasy and science fiction media, in the current stage of globalized capitalism, particularly in the Global Right’s networks. I analyze these worldbuilding activities across news media production and fictional media production in the domestic and service industries. While my scope is regional and global as well as local, Hungarian media culture provides a particularly instructive case study of such politicized worldbuilding.