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The new discourses of nation: The origins of nationalism in late eighteenth‐century Hungary (Part 1)


Nations and Nationalism

Published online on


["Nations and Nationalism, Volume 28, Issue 3, Page 894-908, July 2022. ", "\nAbstract\nThe main thesis of this article is that nationalist political discourses emerged in Hungary more suddenly, radically and earlier than previously thought. An underlying assumption is that nationalism may be best understood through an analysis of political discourses. The sudden appeal of these kinds of political discourses demands explanation. How did the discourses of nation overwrite earlier discourses? How did they gain social, political and cultural legitimacy? How were they related to the Enlightenment? In answering these questions, we first point to the ambiguity and fluidity of new concepts and terms, such as nation, language, fatherland, patriot and foreigner. These key concepts of nationalist discourses provided innovative and independent sources of political legitimation. They enabled the frameworks of political life and thought to be re‐established. They made for an easy entry into politics because they were rooted in familiar, earlier political discourses. However, for the success of nationalism as a political paradigm, the new discourses of nation also had to make attractive ideological offers and project positive visions of the future. These offers, as we will show, were built on an appeal to ‘public happiness’. They bound together Magyarisation and nationalism and grew from an ideology into a political programme.\n"]