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European Values and Youth in Hungary

Andras Keil

The aim of this paper is to analyze developments in Hungarian society after the regime change. More specifically the paper analyzes the impact of enlargement focusedon youngsters.First of all, the most important question is what if any impact the EU enlargement process had with regards to values; whether Hungarian young people becameopen-minded about western democratic values or not. Another relevant question to research is the changing attitude of young people in Hungary consideringparticipation in the ERASMUS program (whether they grew to be tolerant or not after collecting experience abroad).A further goal of the paper is to evaluate social developments in Hungary, comparing it to the situation of Western Europe twenty years after World War II following theconsolidation of democracy and the improvement of the economy.I thus wish to examine the hypothesis of the so-called 'overdue development': namely, that post-material values spread nowadays among people aged 18-30 years - whose political socialization took place after the regime change - in established, consolidated post-communist societies in CCE - much like they did forty years ago inWestern Europe.This paper researches the different elements of political socialization and their respective roles. It also aims to determine whether these characteristics are a uniquelyHungarian phenomenon or are similar in the region. As for methods: I use existing international surveys based on democratic and post-material values. It is the hope ofthe author that this paper will prove the hypothesis that the EU enlargement process initiated and/or strengthened a new wave of democratization: a process focused noton institutions but on values and attitudes.

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