Seeking Diamond, But Finding Moissanite: A Case Study On Democratic Political Culture In Contemporary Hungary

Zoltán Berényi

Although since 1990 the indispensable institutional requirements of democracy have been in place in Hungary, studies revealed that Hungarian society in the past 25 years failed to gain sufficiently strong attachment to the norms and values a well functioning democracy requires. Other studies also indicated that these signs, indicating serious shortcomings in democratic political socialization are especially evident in the young generation. In looking for an explanation of this troubling phenomenon political scientists theorised that the low adherence to these values could be the consequence of citizens' low level of activity in voluntary organizations. Could active participation in a voluntary organization reduce the deficits in democratic political socialization?

In order to answer this question, this paper set out to examine to what extent the shortcomings of democratic political socialization could be detected among members of a student association (‘Depolit’) at the University of Debrecen, Hungary.