The End of the Road of Europeanization: an Analysis of Hungarian Exceptionalism in the Wake of ‘The European Migrant Crisis’

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type


First Advisor

Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez


In 2015, a surge of migrants began entering Europe by the thousands in search of a life free of conflict and economic turmoil. Since labeled as the European Migrant Crisis, the majority of migrants crossed into Europe at the Southeastern borders in what is often called the Balkan Route. This has further developed a global trend of right-wing populism and anti-immigration attitudes. In this paper, I will aim to facilitate discourse on what exactly are the chief contributors to attitudes towards immigration and migrants in Hungary, a country that exemplifies these developments. This discourse will include the synthesis of previous research on variables such as the manifestation of macroeconomic fear, personal safety, disease, and ethnic threat. My specific research questions are as follows: What specifically societal characteristics determine attitudes towards immigration and migrants in Hungary? How has the Hungarian identity been developed and how has it contributed to exceptionalism in connection to antiimmigration sentiment? The majority of previous studies that have discussed the above stated variables have focused of the entirety of Europe through large-scale surveys like the European Social Survey (ESS) and have been conducted prior to the recent influx of migrants moving through Europe. More research is necessary for particular regions to provide a more complex and nuanced picture of how attitudes are formed in Europe as a highly ethnically and culturally diverse continent. This research revolves around qualitative data from 26 semi-structured interviews conducted in Budapest and Szeged, Hungary. Interviews were conducted with students, researchers, NGOs, and politicians in January of 2018. These pointed towards the tendency Hungarian exceptionalism that is nurtured by government media campaigns, historical consciousness, and Hungarian identity.


Access to this thesis is limited to the Whittier College community. Contact for additional information.

This document is currently not available here.