Impact of Cultural Trauma References in Political Discourse: Trianon and the Genesis of Status and Citizenship Laws in Hungary and Slovakia

  • Abstract:

    Language of politics, especially in matters related to ethnicity and interethnic relations, works with emotions, steers, manipulates towards attitudes and actions. Use of specific words and cultural codes represent actions that are, when successful, followed by responses of the target audience. Reaction may often follow from external audiences, if they are politically invested in the same issues. References to cultural trauma lead to specific impact on the political discourse and relations. Hungarian and Slovak legislation on Hungarians living abroad and on citizenship illustrate the importance of emotive discourse in escalating domestic and inter-state tensions alike. Trianon trauma and reactions to it color the Slovak-Hungarian relations, having led to a cycle of reinforcing reactions from the side of the Slovak and Hungarian political elites, culminating in introduction of double citizenship for Hungarians living abroad and the Slovak reaction of introducing automatic withdrawal of Slovak citizenship from those who voluntarily obtain citizenship of another state.