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Book Launch – Repatriating Polanyi: Market Society in the Visegrád States by Chris Hann

Karl Polanyi Research Center for Global Social Studies is happy to announce the book launch:

Repatriating Polanyi: Market Society in the Visegrád States

by Chris Hann published by CEU Press in 2019

Karl Polanyi’s “substantivist” critique of market society has found new popularity in the era of neoliberal globalization. The author reclaims this polymath for contemporary anthropology, especially economic anthropology, in the context of Central Europe, where Polanyi (1886–1964) grew up. The Polanyian approach illuminates both the communist era, in particular the “market socialist” economy which evolved under János Kádár in Hungary, as well as the post-communist transformations of property relations, civil society and ethno-national identities throughout the region.

Hann’s analyses are based primarily on his own ethnographic investigations in Hungary and South-East Poland. They are pertinent to the rise of neo-nationalism in those countries, which is theorized as a malign countermovement to the domination of the market. At another level, Hann’s adaptation of Polanyi’s social philosophy points beyond current political turbulence to an original concept of “social Eurasia”.

Time and venue: 7 pm, Lecture room 3 (Fővám tér 8, Budapest), 23rd of September, 2019


Mihály Sárkány (Senior Honoris Causa of the Institute of Ethnology, Research Center for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences ).

Joanna Mroczkowska (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Science and Visegrád Anthropologists’ Network, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology )

Iván Szelényi (William Graham Sumner Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Political Science, Yale University)

Gergő Pulay (Visegrád Anthropologists’ Network, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)

The event will be moderated by Margit Feischmidt (Institute for Minority Studies at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Social Sciences)

See a short interview related to the event and the book launch:

About the author: Chris Hann was born and raised in Wales and educated at Oxford and Cambridge. He has carried out fieldwork in Central Europe as a social anthropologist since 1975. After teaching at the Universities of Cambridge and Kent (Canterbury), Hann moved to Germany in 1999 to co-found the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Halle/Saale). He is an Ordinary Member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and of the World Academy of Rusyn Culture. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Hungarian Ethnographical Society.

Among other appraisals, one by Martha Lampland (Professor of Sociology and Science Studies, University of California San Diego):

"In this book, Chris Hann contends that Karl Polanyi’s intellectual repertoire is more relevant than ever. Long an insightful observer of Hungarian rural society, Hann makes a convincing argument by providing an in valuable selection of his writings old and new on the cultural and economic dilemmas faced by Polanyi’s compatriots over the last half century."

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