From national minority to diaspora: Hungarians in Romania, 2000-2015. Matters of population, education, and territory

The paper investigates the transformation of the project of a parallel Hungarian society in Romania during the last fifteen years through the analytical lens offered by the pair concepts of diaspora and national minority. The diaspora is externally oriented towards the kinstate, aiming at acquiring its active support and advocacy in the international arena, maintaining the option to “return”, including the right to non‐residential dual citizenship. The national minority is internally oriented as a mobilized political actor on the national scene, struggling for cultural rights, territorial autonomy, and special representation in their native country. Scrutinizing the interaction between Hungarian state’s national policy, Hungarian minority participation in government in Romania, civic and cultural organisation at various local levels, and the international legal regime of minority recognition, the paper shows the tensioned living with both these postures of Hungarians in Romania. It starts with the issue of population, where sheer size, territorial distribution, and the strength of ethno‐cultural identification affect the force and legitimacy of the claims that Hungarians may advance on the national political scene, and determine the chance of maintaining a Hungarian way of life. From here it zooms into the politics of higher education in the Hungarians language in Romania, and the political life of the notion of diaspora for Hungarians in Romania.

Irina Culic

Professor at the Department of Sociology, Babes-Bolyai University in Romania

  • Topic of the paper:From national minority to diaspora: Hungarians in Romania, 2000-2015
  • Research interests:ethnicity, nationalism, international migration, diaspora politics, state and borders, social epistemologies