Extra Hungariam Non Est Vita? The Relationships between Hungarian Immigrants and Their Homeland


  • Éva V. Huseby-Darvas University of Michigan-Dearborn




Hungarian migrations, virtual and actual homecomings, ideologies and myths, long distance nationalism


This study examines various ideologies and myths immigrants hold about their homeland, then turns to look at the relationship over time between immigrants and their natal Hungary. First it explores massive emigrations and minimal remigrations from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While it is impossible to sharply divide economic push factors from political ones, the motivations to leave Hungary were primarily economic in that time. Then I turn to three periods: migrations during the era between the two World Wars; immediately after the Second World War; and to the socialist regime between 1948 and 1989. These times the push factors were mainly political. Finally, I pay attention to the first dozen years of the post-socialist period when emigration was, once again, mainly economically motivated, and remigrations were frequent particularly, though not only, for retirees. (As the study that follows the present one will illustrate, since the Fall of 2010—along with global economic problems—political factors, generally low morale, lack of trust in a viable future are major factors once again for the massive outmigration). The immigrants’ ties with the homeland changed through time depending not on the intentions of the individuals, but on global politics, and the transformation of the various regimes in Hungary. I discuss some versions of both virtual and actual homecoming, as well as expressions and meanings of long distance nationalism.

Author Biography

Éva V. Huseby-Darvas, University of Michigan-Dearborn

Éva V. Huseby-Darvas received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She has taught part time at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Ann Arbor campuses and at E.L.T.E. in Budapest. Her areas of scholarly interest include looking at the relationship between identity and radical social change and the ramification of migration on gender. Specifically, she has published some fifty articles on East Central European culture and society, kinship networks and gender politics, and the regional development of nationalism and ethnicity, refugees, migrants, and immigrants. She has also published Hungarians in Michigan (2003). In recognition of her research in contributing to the understanding of Hungarian historical, cultural and social development in the homeland and abroad, as well as for her continuous efforts in promoting research cooperation between the U.S. and Hungary, in 2008 Huseby-Darvas was awarded the Knight's Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.






Cluster Articles: Hungarian Borders, Immigration, Diasporas