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Fields of research of the Hamvas Institute

Culture and power

One of those is “Culture and power”, which seeks to answer how the mechanisms of pressure, influencing, and manipulation characterized the interaction between society and regime. We are especially focused on the activity of the communist state security. Here, the work of the researcher is much like an archeologist’s: the “excavation area” is given, we can mostly identify the age and origin of the “artifacts” and after cleaning and arranging them, we can place them in the museum of, to use Hamvas’s phrase, “existence wrecking”.

Security research

We have also opened up new territory: “Security research”. The domain of security is in many aspects intertwined with and determined by cultural associations. Just think of “strategic culture” as a key concept of security policy, one of the obstacles in the way of an ever more pressing intelligence cooperation. Or think of the lack of a common security culture, the intricate psychological background of terrorism, the renaissance of psychological warfare in our times, or the contrasting standpoints of security and privacy.

History of thought

The other one, “History of thought”, sets out to rediscover a tradition of thought marked by a productive amalgam of European and Hungarian identity, represented by works and authors who were surrounded by a wrongful conspiracy of silence for decades, including Béla Hamvas, Miklós Szentkuthy, Lajos Prohászka, Ervin Baktay, and many others.


Ágnes Hankiss

Director of the Hamvas Béla Institute