Regime Change and the Attempted Rehabilitation of Self: Ferenc Fodor and the Production of Communist Geography, 1948-1962


  • Steven Jobbitt Lakehead University, Canada



Communism, Hungary, Geographical Knowledge Production, Socio-Political Marginalization, Scholarly Rehabilitation


The communist takeover in Hungary after World War II presented obvious challenges, hardships, and even dangers for the conservative-nationalist scholars who were part of the intellectual elite of the interwar period. Marginalized within the new socio-political order that emerged after the communist consolidation of power in 1948-49, conservative-nationalist intellectuals who were not completely silenced by the communists either retreated from public life entirely, or else found themselves having to struggle to remain relevant within the state-socialist system then under construction. Though limited in what they could publish, and relegated to minor and often precarious positions within the scholarly community, former conservative-nationalist scholars were nevertheless granted limited spaces within which they could produce relevant and even important scholarship, and in so doing could also “reinvent” themselves—if in many cases only partially and perhaps opportunistically—as public intellectuals. Focusing on the life and work of Ferenc Fodor between 1948 and his death in 1962, this article explores the concrete ways that a once-prominent geographer of the interwar period continued to contribute to geographical knowledge production under communism, and how he used this scholarly work as leverage in his attempts to partially rehabilitate himself in the early communist period. Contributing to a growing body of critical work on Hungarian geography under communism (see articles by Márton Czirfusz and Róbert Győri in this issue, for example), this study helps to lay the groundwork for future research on the relationship between the politics of scholarly production and the spatial re-imagining of postwar Hungary.






Thematic Cluster: Space, Place, and the Making of Modern Hungary [Part II] Guest editors: S. Jobbitt and R. Győri