Speaking Hatefully

Culture, Communication, and Political Action in Hungary

By (author) David Boromisza-Habashi

Hardback - £45.95

Publication date:

16 November 2012

Length of book:

160 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271056371

In Speaking Hatefully, David Boromisza-Habashi focuses on the use of the term “hate speech” as a window on the cultural logic of political and moral struggle in public deliberation. This empirical study of gyűlöletbeszéd, or "hate speech," in Hungary documents competing meanings of the term, the interpretive strategies used to generate those competing meanings, and the parallel moral systems that inspire political actors to question their opponents’ interpretations. In contrast to most existing treatments of the subject, Boromisza-Habashi’s argument does not rely on pre-existing definitions of "hate speech." Instead, he uses a combination of ethnographic and discourse analytic methods to map existing meanings and provide insight into the sociocultural life of those meanings in a troubled political environment.

“This book is interesting and provocative, not to say courageous. It takes a term that arouses intense passions in the United States and analyzes it in an alien cultural/political context in ways that go beyond the usual tenor of U.S. conversations on such topics, showing that even positions one may find odious have an internal ‘logic’ in local sociohistorical contexts. That alone is an important contribution to scholarship on political debate, which usually assumes competing ‘sides’ and, at least implicitly, privileges certain positions over others. In this way, the analysis poses provocative questions about scholars’ own potential ‘cultural’ biases and political engagements. (Whether scholars are ready to accept the challenge is another question.)”

—Cezar M. Ornatowski, San Diego State University