Double Ressentiment: The Political Communication of Kulturkampf in Hungary

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Double Ressentiment: The Political Communication of Kulturkampf in Hungary


  • Balázs Kiss Institute for Political Science, Centre for Social Sciences, Eötvös Loránd Research Network (ELKH), Hungary


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Abstract:  Emotions have always been invested in politics. Politicians and politically biased public intellectuals manage citizens’ emotions for various purposes: to alienate them from the rival political camp and to make them participate in elections or in politics in general. Ressentiment is an affective style of great political potential and it is present throughout democratic European societies. By analysing the discourses of the culture war between the political camps in Hungary since 2018, this article presents the components, drivers, mechanisms, and some typical outcomes of ressentiment on the levels of the individual and the political communities. It argues that in political communication both political sides are trying to appeal to the citizens’ ressentiment. Both camps use communicative means to incite, channel, and reorient ressentiment by, e.g., scapegoating, identity work, and transvaluation to attract citizens, stabilize their own support, and nudge followers towards specific political activities.

Keywords:  identity work; political communication; political psychology; ressentiment; victimization

Published:   27 August 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v9i3.4053


© Balázs Kiss. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.