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Productive families and capable mothers: un/deservingness in Hungarian family policies

Author Márta BASKI
Director of thesis Jelena Tošić
Co-director of thesis Violetta Zentai
Summary of thesis

My dissertation investigates the re-organisation of social and family policy after the 2010 take-off of the second Orbán-government. These policy changes also have reorganised class and gender relations, in which the 'two-earner-one-carer' family model is further supported by the "sentimentalization" of women's carework, making it the central pillar of social citizenship claims for women (Fodor, 2022), while simultaneously separating families into “deserving” and “undeserving families” and the uncodified but effectively achieved of non-support of Romani people unless they reach assimilation to white Hungarian “middle-class” norms. This research draws on 14-months of ethnographic fieldwork with the main site of Family Support and Child Welfare Centres and Services to explore the images of family, and more broadly, citizenship that emerge in contemporary Hungarian society through the measures used by social sector professionals to support families in crisis. While these institutions are organised and funded by municipalities, their work is complemented with different diverse programs –in the urban site of the research civil servant social workers are working on an EU-funded project with close cooperation with social workers of an international civil society organisation, and in the rural site with programs led by faith-based civil society organisations. Thus, this research aims at showing how recent policy changes shape how various institutions and professionals work with families in crisis, and I explore how these street-level bureaucrats (Lipsky, 1980) conform to or contest these policy ideals through a Foucauldian lens of subjectivation.

Status beginning
Administrative delay for the defence 2025