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Book Launch Attila Melegh, 2023. The Migration Turn and Eastern Europe

On April 14, 2023, Karl Polányi Center, Eszmélet Journal, Social Theory College (TEK), Department of Sociology, and CUB hosted a book launch of the director of the Karl Polanyi Research Center and an Associated Professor at the Corvinus University of Budapest Melegh Attila, titled as "The Migration Turn and Eastern Europe. A Global Historical Sociological Analysis", Palgrave Macmillan. 426 pp. Translated by Kyra Lyublyanovich.

The book is available for purchase on the following link:

Participants of the discussion:

Beáta Nagy (moderator): Professor of Sociology at the Corvinus University of Budapest, President of the Hungarian Sociological Association, and director of the Centre for Gender and Culture at Corvinus. Her previous research dealt with work-life balance, gender and executive search, women’s advancement in academic life, and intensive motherhood during the pandemic. Recent co-authored publications include “In this together”? Gender inequality associated with home‐working couples during the first COVID lockdown in Gender, Work and Organization and “Designed for Failure? Advocating Equality Against Adversity in Hungary and Poland at Oxford University Press.

Chris Hann: Emeritus Director, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. Chris Hann has worked as an economic anthropologist in Hungary since the mid-1970s. He is author of Tázlár: A Village in Hungary (1980); and Repatriating Polanyi. Market Society in the Visegrád States (2019).

József Böröcz: Professor of Sociology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. One of the founders of the Karl Polányi Center for Global Social Studies, he is (co)author / (co)editor of 8 books and over 90 scholarly papers in a number of languages, including The European Union and Global Social Change (Routledge, 2009) and "'Eurowhite' Conceit and Dirty White Ressentiment: Race in Europe" (Sociological Forum, 2021). For more on his work, see

Petra Ezzedine: is a Social Anthropologist and an Assistant Professor at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague. Her research focuses on migration, transnational care practices, globalization of care and ageing in migration with special focus on CEE region. She is a research fellow in the research program Global Conflicts and Local Interactions (Strategy AV) at Czech Academy of Sciences and a member of the editorial board for Gender /Rovné příležitosti/Výzkum (Gender and Research). She cooperates closely with several Czech and Slovak non-governmental and international organizations working with migrant women.

Prem Kumar Rajaram: Professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Central European University and co-founder and Program Director of the Open Learning Initiative (OLIve) which provides education opportunities for displaced people. His research is on migration, colonialism and capitalism and their intersections. He is the co-editor of Opening Up the University: Teaching and Learning with Refugees (Berghahn, 2022) and author of Ruling the Margins: colonialism and administrative rule in the past and present (Routledge, 2014).

Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro: Professor at and Chair of the Geography Department and Environmental Studies of SUNY New Paltz. His most recent books are Socialist States and Environment and Urban Food Production for Ecosocialism (with G. Martin). His research areas include soil contamination and acidification, urban food production, dialectical materialism, and socialism and environment. He teaches courses on physical geography, gender and environment, people-environment relations, socialism, and soils. He is Senior Editor of Capitalism Nature Socialism and Reviews Editor for Human Geography.

On the book:

Using Marxist and Polanyian frameworks, this book examines globally the structural and discursive transformation that can explain the polarization of migration debates and within the rise of nationalist anti-migrant discourses with special attention to Eastern Europe. Drawing from thinkers such as Lukács, Polanyi, and Gramsci as well as diverse empirical sources including demographic studies, historical modeling, and discourse analyses, Migration Turn and Eastern Europe is a unique and rigorous study of one of the most pressing and puzzling political and sociological questions of our time.

"A timely and most sharp Polányian and Marxist unpacking and contextualization of migration and population politics since the 1980s, Attila Melegh's precious and thorough analytical intervention defogs migration issues from the pervasive false choice between chauvinistic delirium and callous utilitarianism that throttles the current public imaginary in much of the world. He accomplishes this politically important demystification by shedding much-needed light on the ruthless capitalist roots behind the latest intensification of worldwide mass dislocations." Salvatore Engel Di-Mauro. Professor, Department of Geography, SUNY New Paltz. Editor-In-Chief of Capitalism Nature Socialism.

Having passed from socialist modernization to capitalist peripherality, embattled nations in Eastern Europe have come to exemplify new patterns of exploitative mobility, accompanied by populist socio-political discourses linking migration to population management. Attila Melegh's holistic approach to these dynamics is global in its coverage, rigorous empirically, sophisticated theoretically, and deeply humanist in its ethical inspiration. Chris Hann, Emeritus Director, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Fellow, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

A unique and from a scientific point of view very important book has been written. It provides a global, Marxist and system critical analysis of migration problems focusing on Eastern Europe. The author with exceptional knowledge puts the problems of migration historically and theoretically into the context of universal development in the last 50 years. This book is a must within the relevant literature. Tamás Krausz Emeritus Professor, Eötvös Loránd University, winner of the Isaac Deutscher prize in 2015.

This is an essential book. An interdisciplinary analysis of one of the most challenging and complex subject of our time – migration under capitalism. The book brings in-depth knowledge of migration theories, detailed empirical data, and numerous case studies from Eastern Europe. Attila Melegh is one of the most specialized author of migrations, with this book we have a Manual to understand the management of the world workforce; also, central, going beyond numbers, the impact in the way of live of millions of people in the world; the rise of central political questions (extreme right chauvinism and resistance to this); we find in this serious, dense oeuvre clues for transformation of the world in a sense of equality, the end of inequalities and solidarity. Raquel Varela, labour historian, Professor Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

What has astonished me when reading Attila Melegh’s new book is that it succeeds in addressing so many of the key questions of contemporary migration studies, across a vast canvas, and yet remains highly accessible and readable—I devoured it in a single sitting. Whether in the interpretation of migration debates or analysis of migration data, Melegh’s book brims with insight and theoretical curiosity. His theses on migration in the age of global marketisation, and on the role of Eastern European regimes in promulgating a xenophobic response, are major contributions. Gareth Dale is a Reader in Political Economy, Brunel University.

Importantly, the video footage of the book launch is available on the Karl Polanyi Center's Youtube Channel, please visit the link:

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