Movement of the People
Hungarian Folk Dance, Populism, and Citizenship
Published by: Indiana University Press
Since 1990, thousands of Hungarians have vacationed at summer camps devoted to Hungarian folk dance in the Transylvanian villages of neighboring Romania. This folk tourism and connected everyday practices of folk dance revival take place against the backdrop of an increasingly nationalist political environment in Hungary.
In Movement of the People, Mary N. Taylor takes readers inside the folk revival movement known as dancehouse (táncház) that sustains myriad events where folk dance is central and championed by international enthusiasts and UNESCO. Contextualizing táncház in a deeper history of populism and nationalism, Taylor examines the movement's emergence in 1970s socialist institutions, its transformation through the postsocialist period, and its recent recognition by UNESCO as a best practice of heritage preservation.
Approaching the populist and popular practices of folk revival as a form of national cultivation, Movement of the People interrogates the everyday practices, relationships, institutional contexts, and ideologies that contribute to the making of Hungary's future, as well as its past.
Introduction: The Aesthetic Nation
1. Making the Nation-State in 19th and 20th Century Hungary
2. What Kind of Nation? Folk National Cultivation in the Interwar Period
3. Socialist Cultural Management, Civic Cultivation, and Associational Life in Late Socialism
4. The Táncház Revolution: Reviving Folk Dance As Social Dance
5. Folk Dance as Mother Tongue: National Conduct and The Production of Collective Memory
6. Socialist State Formation, Táncház Frameworks of Sense, and the Origins of the Postsocialist Cultural Turn
7. The Place of Heritagization: Culture Talk amid Shifting Property and Citizenship Regimes
This marvelous study of táncház dance is at once a social history of socialist and post-socialist Hungary, an ethnography of Hungarian folk culture, and a meditation on how culture can be galvanized as both a form of collective action and ethnonationalism. A lively and thought-provoking work.~Sujatha Fernandes, author of The Cuban Hustle: Culture, Politics, Everyday Life
Combining ethnographic and historical detail with theoretical rigour, Mary Taylor uses her exploration of the Hungarian táncház movement, stretching from the socialist to the postsocialist period, to uncover complex relations between cultural form and practice, collective memory, citizenship, and state formation. By offering a refreshing critique of the global 'heritage regime,' her analysis also reveals how 'local' cultural practices and traditions are shaped by global economic and political forces.~Emilia Barna, co-editor of Popular Music, Technology and the Changing Media Ecosystem: From Cassettes to Stream
Hungary is now an avant-garde case of 21st century neo-nationalist politics. Folk dance became one of its historical and contradictory venues, Mary Taylor explains, as she digs into the complex lived and danced history of the idea of the Magyar 'folk.'~Don Kalb, University of Bergen, Norway
Hungary's táncház movement, or folk dance revival, is an expression of nostalgia for the virtues of the agrarian past, a hotbed of ethnonationalism, a system for transmission of 'intangible cultural heritage' recognized by international organizations, and a social dance scene that can be an awful lot of fun. Taylor's meticulously researched book fleshes out the complex cultural and intellectual history for this movement, demonstrating through her fieldwork and documentary research how 21st-century folk dancing emerges from discourses and institutions that can be traced over 100 years, and how it participates in the maintenance and development of ideas of citizenship promoted by Hungary's populist politicians.~Lynn M. Hooker, author of Redefining Hungarian Music from Liszt to Bartók, Purdue University
This empirically grounded and historically informed analysis of a revived folk dance practice introduces an innovative approach to studying the perplexing relation between nationalism, culture, neoliberalism and heritage politics in the socialist and post-socialist Hungary and the present-day European context.~Ioannis Manos