Knowledge and Power in Sovietized Hungarian Geography

Győri, Róbert and Gyuris, Ferenc (2015) Knowledge and Power in Sovietized Hungarian Geography. In: Geographies of Knowledge and Power. Knowledge and Space (7). Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 203-233. ISBN 978-94-017-9959-1

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The history and geography of science offer ample evidence of how those in power try to control knowledge and education, how certain regimes tried to manipulate scientific disciplines to benefit their own interests, how some disciplines adapted to radical changes in political systems and adjusted their theoretical concepts to new ideologies, and what efforts these disciplines made to appear “useful” to those in power. This article examines the means used by the Communist regime in Hungary after World War II to “conquer” science and colonize geography. Researchers have richly documented how Central and Eastern Europe became objects of “Soviet colonialism”; how these countries were turned into economic fiefdoms of the Soviet empire, with economic production undertaken on a command basis and trade permissible only through the Communist alliance; and what consequences this development had on various fields. But scholars working in the history and geography of science still pay little attention to the intellectual transformation that took place in the discipline of geography in these countries as of the late 1940s. For this reason, we aim in this essay to contribute to a better understanding of these issues by revealing how Hungarian geography was colonized during the 1950s. We show how the Communist system crushed “the old geography” in order to establish Hungarian Marxist-Leninist geography. We reveal how geographic knowledge, like knowledge in general, became “a form of power, and by implication violence”. We describe different epistemological cultures that infl uenced and determined the approaches, methods, social tasks, and educational role of Hungarian geography between the world wars and after World War II. We analyze the effect that Marxist-Leninist ideology had on Soviet geography in this period. Furthermore, we investigate how a colonizing ideology dominated Hungarian geography, how the institutional structure of geography was transformed, and how the career paths of the “old” geographers continued. We also outline who became the “new” geographers and how, and describe the new tasks set for MarxistLeninist geography in Hungary.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation / földrajz, antropológia, kikapcsolódás > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography / gazdasági-társadalmi földrajz
Depositing User: Dr. Róbert Győri
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2016 08:04
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2016 08:04

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