This article examines the familial underpinnings of the early socialist welfare regime in Hungary. Much of the existing historiography of the period assumes that this Hungarian state viewed the family as a reactionary institution and an impediment to the development of socialism. Yet, behind such demagoguery, the regime relied quite heavily on the family. At the empirical level, I analyze centralized planning, enterprise assistance schemes, and local welfare practices to reveal how the family was deployed as a model for postwar reconstruction and as an institution to be reconstructed. At the theoretical level, I use the Hungarian case to reflect more broadly on the possibilities and the limitations of welfare familialism. I argue that this approach to welfare had mixed consequences for those it targeted; it both constrained and enabled Hungarians in their struggles to protect themselves in everyday life.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)