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Bitter ironies of history

Bitter ironies of history

About the article

There are many lists of “What you can do with a degree in sociology” out there, but we have yet to see one listing “mayor of Budapest.” Yet that is what Demszky Gábor (Gábor Demszky in American name order) did for 20 years with his degree, after a very different career until 1989 publishing samizdat (independent) literature in communist Hungary, challenging the Soviet-installed regime. His life is at the heart of another world-historical change too, a less hopeful one: the decline of the Liberal Party and Hungary’s recent autocratic turn which has led to more than 200 constitutional changes designed to keep the Fidesz party in power. James Jasper, who teaches at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York, interviewed Demszky at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, where they were both fellows. Demszky is currently at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

Abouth the author

James M. Jasper is a sociologist at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has written a number of books on recent social movements, and is the co-editor of AUP’s book series, Protest and Social Movements.