Tatyjana Szafonova

GIAS Fellow
Period of Stay: 
September 2022 – August 2023
PhD, Central European University
Project Title: 
Central Asian Turn and the Reinvention of Turanism in Hungary: Anthropological Study of Self-Orientalising Praxis
Project Abstract: 

Within the frames of the proposed project, I want to look at how a populist regime assembles a specific ideology. This process is tricky because one of the premises of populist appeal is its vagueness, which attracts very different groups not connected by common interests or shared values. Populist ideology should contain contradictory elements. We are witnessing how Hungarian populist government is reviving Turanism, a theory originally popular in the first half of 20th century. It suggested that Hungarians, Finns, Estonians, Kyrghyz, Kazakhs, Bashkirs, various Siberian people, Turks, Finno-Ugrians, Samoyeds, Mongols, Manchu-Tungus, Koreans and Japanese belong to the same Turanian race. In recent years Central Asian people got a prominent position among ‘Turanic relatives' of the Hungarians. Turanism is revived in contemporary Hungary with the emphasis on the relations with Central Asia. Why did this happen, and how can we explain such a selective re-enactment of an old ideology?