Previous research projects


Return of the Weberian leaders: plebiscitary leader democracy as a means of cognition for contemporary political trends

The main question of the research is how contemporary developments in liberal democracies (their deconsolidation, the rise of populism) are connected to broader changes of recent decades in the political field and citizens’ political behavior. The aim is to explore a realist (i.e. being empirically more relevant and carrying more realistic normative expectations) theory of democracy through re-working Weber’s concept of plebiscitary leader democracy (PLD). Empirical evidence about the functioning of contemporary democracies often challenges classical (normative) theories of democracy.


Political Leadership: Theory and Comparative Research
The aim of the research is to continue the former academic project on political leadership and to expand its theoretical results toward the empirical-comparative analysis. The research is focused on the relationship of the political leadership and representative democracy and its general purpose is to work out the authorization theory of the latter. The empirical research will study the typology of political leaders, the problem of proactivity and creativity, and the leadership as the political representation.
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Critical Social Theory (CSTh)
The aim of the research is to define the place of the Critical Social Theory (CST) amongst the social sciences, its own research object, methodology, and its standard of evaluation. (The research will build on the researcher's earlier three decade long engagement with the CST.) Furthermore, it aspires to study the foundation of CST's jurisprudence as well as its basic conception of democracy. Ultimately the research should give birth to a monograph detailing the findings of the research.
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How does the mandate of the winner emerge? Mandate interpretation between election and government formation
The aim of the research is to analyze the press after parliamentary elections with the help of a modified version of mandate theory: the approach focusing on the interpretation and perception of mandate. We examine whether victory is interpreted as a mandate, and what factors play a role in this.
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The Role of Semantics in the Formation of Political Institutions 
The aim of the research is to explore how ideas, discourses, or institutional context influence political processes. This means first to examine relevant theories – especially new institutionalism – and then, with the help of this theoretical framework, to analyze present political processes, with an emphasis on the operation of democratic systems.
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Adaptation of Local Organizations of Social Services in Peripheral Countries in Europe

We examine in each state or region the legal and the historical backgrounds. An overview of the state, regional and local administrative management and social management is given, we examine the role of the non-profit sector and the situation of the church, civilians and private actors in the social economy. In addition to comparing LOSS we examine how they responded to crises of the 90s, what kind of transformation they have undergone and the impact of the crash of the systems on them as a whole, particularly on the local levels. Is there a significant difference in the post socialist countries as a result of the creation of the new systems, have different paths developed with different reactions? To what degree has the study of the new social structure been successful and how has this prepared the emerging ones to handle the new crisis?
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The ‘Bubbling Up’ of Subterranean Politics in Europe 
European protests are not just about austerity measures, but about frustration with formal politics and the failure of democracy. Public displays of subterranean politics reveal a collective re-definition of democracy, its practices and its relation to everyday life and the role of technology has been critical.
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The Crisis of European and Global Governance: The Great Disruption and/or the Great Consolidation
Research is conducted on the topics of economic growth and financial meltdown, and the imperative of achieving sustainable development and transparency in European and global governance. One of the key challenges in the research is to determine new and innovative ways of thinking to resolve the threats to the sustainability of social relations, the environment and economies. The premise is that: New knowledge is required by the social sciences to meet the demands of techological innovation, management, public policy, and civil society.
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Citizenship in the EU: Civic Participation and Identities of Young Generations and Vulnerable Groups with Special Focus on East and Central Europe

If citizenship int he Euroepan Union has been developing constantly during he past two decades, it remained in flux. The research project concentrates on major challenges to the processes of identification with the EU in particular in countries of East Central and Souths Eastern Europe. The empirical research will focus on young generations’ and vulnarable groups’ perception and expectation about European citizenship. The theoretical part of the research project wil focus on new dimensions of European citizenship in relation to identity and sovereignty.
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Community by Controversy: Analysing European Public Sphere via Debating Controversial Issues

The project examines the creative power of debates in constructing European public sphere. Empirical analyses on European disputes on controversial issues are planned to test the research design and to compare the results provided by the previous study on the Hungarian media laws.
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The Orientation Frame of Politics: The Role of Semantics in the Formation of Political Institutions
The aim of the research is to examine what kind of role the semantic descriptions of politics played, play or can play in formation of basic political institutions. 
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The Political Economy of Uneven Regional Development in Post-communist Central Europe
This project seeks to answer why regional disparities increased in Central Europe after the change of regime. It argues that besides those economic factors (agglomeration effects) that naturally produce inequalities in market economies, certain transnational, national and local policies and institutions also contributed to this phenomenon. The project evaluates the effects of key transnational (Foreign Direct Investments, EU Cohesion Policy), national (investment promotion policies, regional development policies) and local (development coalitions) factors in shaping patterns of uneven regional development in the so-called Visegrad countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia).
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Schools of Democracy? Comparative analysis of local projects In Hungary encouraging cooperation in the field of political participation of young people

The main objective of the research is to investigate how the common European youth policy objective of designing political institutions that enable young people unleash their creativity and participate in democracy is put into practice at local level in Hungary. The research aims to capture how europeanization effected structures for young people’s active participation in Hungary in the South Great Hungarian Plain Region at regional and local level. What are the features of laws and institutions created for Hungarian young people to participate in public life? How did the projects encouraging youth participation influence decision-making processes in Hungary?
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Conceptualizing ’hate speech’ in the Hungarian political discourse 1994-2004
The research aims to examine the different uses and interpretations of the ambigous concept ‘gyűlöletbeszéd’ (hate speech) in the Hungarian political discourse.
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COCOPS Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future

COCOPS is a public management research consortium consisting of 11 universities in 10 countries. With a budget of nearly 2,7 million € from the European Commission’s FP7, this is to become one of the largest comparative public management research projects in Europe. The project started on 1 Jan 2011 and will run for 3,5 years. It is coordinated by Erasmus University Rotterdam. The Hungarian member of the consortium is the Department of Public Policy and Management at the Corvinus University of Budapest. Research by the Hungarian team is coordinated by Gyorgy Hajnal. For more information visit

ESF COST Action LocRef: Local Public Sector Reforms: An International Comparison

In the current comparative research concerning public sector modernization, the local level of government is blatantly absent. Databases on local public sector reforms are fragmented, incomparable, incoherent, nationally scattered and confined in their methodological approach. This Action is intended to remedy those deficits. It will generate coherent data bases for systematic comparison with a view to streamlining analytical approaches and synthesizing research outcomes using methodological triangulation (qualitative/quantitative techniques). The Action will provide a platform for establishing a new set of comparative (descriptive, explanatory, and evaluative) knowledge on local public sector reforms and for integrating the fragmented research activities in this neglected area of investigation. Starting in early 2013 the project implementation will last for four years. The Management Commmittee member coordinating the work to be undertaken in Hungary is Gyorgy Hajnal.