Toward Socialist Environmentalism? Scientists and Environmental Change in Modern Hungary

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This article discusses state-socialist Hungary's approach towards environ-mental protection from theoretical, institutional and practical perspectives. It discusses the genesis of a holistic and complex scientific approach to the environment in the 1950s and 1960s and its impact on the formation of the country's environmental protection system (including environmental legal framework; environmental institutional system; and daily practices of envi-ronmental protection). Its aim is to find out why the teachings of the holistic and complex school of environmentalism were implemented only vaguely in Hungary; instead, beginning from the 1960s, the government turned away from Soviet science and gradually implemented Western methods of environmental protection (pollution levy fees; discharge permit system; subsidies for energy saving products; and end-of-pipe solutions). The article asserts that, although a large body of environmentally focused social sciences research suggests the opposite, state-socialist Hungary developed its own school of environmental thinking, partly based on Soviet environmentalism, in which humanity and nature are interconnected and interdependent. That scientific approach was de-veloped by some of the leading environmental scientists of Hungary - Denes Borzsony, Ede Kertai, Imre Degen, Andras Madas, Istvan Oroszlany and Jozsef Mantuano - who understood natural resources as the primary actor and determiner for the human condition and who focused on finding the equilib-rium between society's needs and natural resources via attentive and complex planning.
TidskriftEnvironment and History
Sidor (från-till)239-259
Antal sidor21
StatusPublicerad - 1 maj 2023
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


  • 615 Historia och arkeologi

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