Accepted Papers:

Ethnicity as an instrument for social and ecological reprodutcion in Hungarian small towns  

Author:

Cecília Kovai (Hungarian Academy of Sciences,, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy and Sciences)

Paper Short Abstract:

My paper aims to present how etnhicity (in this case the "Gypssyness" and „Hungarianness”) becomes an important instrument for social and ecological reproduction in a typically semi-peripheral position of the world economy: in Hungarian small towns , where I am currently conducting my fieldwork.

Paper long abstract:

My paper aims to present how etnhicity (in this case the "Gypssyness" and „Hungarianness”) becomes an important instrument for social and ecological reproduction in a typically semi-peripheral position of the world economy: in Hungarian small towns , where I am currently conducting my fieldwork. In the first part of my paper I briefly present how the different cycles of capitalist world economy and the related state policy have shaped the class-based "Gypsy"-"Hungarian" distinctions from the sixties on up to the present. In the second part of my presentation I focus on the current processes. Usually the "Gypsyness" is associated mainly with the "surplus" population while the "Hungarian" position is related to the working-class or lower middle—middle class situation. In my research I study places ( poorer quarters of small towns) where the mentioned distinction has become a crucial factor in the present reorganization of the global current and counter-current of capital and social reproduction. These places can be interpreted as transitions between the stable, permanent wage- work based class position and a precarious situation. We can track this transition within the life trajectories of the agents, from one generation to the next one, but the ethnic distinction can be grasped in most cases. On the local level, encounters of the habitual differences of these class positions appear as etchnic relationships or conflicts. I would like to discuss how the class-based ethnic distintcions can become a stabilizing factor in the present reorganization of capital and social reproduction, as they can give a possibility for movements to emerge by blurring these distinctions, or even through ethnic mobilization.

Panel P136
Systemic crisis, anti-systemic movements: marxist approaches to capitalist restructuring and social reproduction in contemporary global scenarios of movement and stability