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Remains of SocialismMemory and the Futures of the Past in Postsocialist Hungary$
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Maya Nadkarni

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501750175

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501750175.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Remains of Socialism

Maya Nadkarni

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on the shifting fates of the memory of the socialist past in postsocialist Hungary. Beginning in the early 1990s, the chapter describes more than two decades of political and social transformation in order to examine attempts at “spring cleaning” the remains of the past era from both private life and public culture. It analyzes the concept of “remains” as both physical objects and cultural remainders in order to symbolize all that Hungarians sought to leave behind as they struggled to remake themselves as new postsocialist subjects. The Hungarian's heated attempts to master the obstinate remainders of an ambivalent past also became struggles to determine the future and mourn the futures that were never realized. The chapter also examines how the conditions for “entering Europe” and becoming fully “modern” included the demand that Eastern Europe sacrifice previous historical narratives and disavow the meaningfulness of earlier lifeways.

Keywords:   postsocialist Hungary, social transformation, spring cleaning, Eastern Europe

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