Lonely fighters. German and Hungarian workers in post-communism period

Author/s Eszter Bartha
Publishing Year 2013 Issue 2013/88
Language Italian Pages 20 P. 37-56 File size 136 KB
DOI 10.3280/PASS2013-088003
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Introduces the results of a life-history interview project conducted with workers and former workers of two large ex-socialist model factories, Carl Zeiss in Jena (East Germany) and Rábe in Gyo´´r (Hungary) between 2002 and 2004. The essay analyzes the post-socialist experience of the East German and Hungarian workers in three main dimensions: the experience of post-Fordist development in the factory; the subjective evaluation of the standard of living; interpersonal relations. Lastly, it examines examines the social and political attitudes of the workers in the mirror of their post-socialist experience. Hungarians had a more direct experience of peripheral development than the East Germans. While East Germany’s greater success of integration into the capitalist world economy was accompanied by a change of mentality and the appearance of post-materialistic values, in Hungary nationalism seemed to be the only alternative to a capitalism, that disappointed and effectively impoverished many people. This explains the ambiguous evaluation of the socialist Kádár regime, in which the vision of greater social and material equality is confused with a longing for a strong state, order and an autocratic government.

Keywords: Germany, Hungary, post-communism, Zeiss, Rábe, factory workers, oral history, transition studies, populism

Eszter Bartha, Combattenti solitari. Lavoratori tedeschi e ungheresi in epoca postcomunista in "PASSATO E PRESENTE" 88/2013, pp 37-56, DOI: 10.3280/PASS2013-088003