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A Carefare Regime

Monday, May 15, 2023, 1:30 pm – 3:10 pm

The Inequalities and Democracy Workgroup of the CEU Democracy Institute cordially invites you to its seminar.

If you would like to attend, please register here.

Please keep in mind that external guests will not be able to enter the building without prior registration.

Hungary’s anti-liberal government has invented a novel solution to the care crisis, which I call a “carefare regime”. This chapter describes four key features of the policies, policy practice and discourse that make up Hungary’s carefare regime. I argue that in contrast to welfare state models familiar from developed democracies, in post-2010 Hungary, women’s claims to social citizenship are most successfully made on the basis of doing care work. The state is re-engineered rather retrenched: services are not commodified but “churchified” in an effort to redistribute resources and build political loyalty. Women are constructed as “naturally” responsible for reproduction and care and this responsibility is tied to sentimentalized notions about femininity and true womanhood. In addition to providing care in the household, women are increasingly engaged in the paid labor market too, where the tolerance for gender inequality is officially mandated. A carefare regime provides limited financial advantages for a select group of women, while simultaneously increasing their devalued work burden both in and outside the household: it feeds a growing underclass of women workers.

The seminar starts with a 25-minute presentation of the research followed by the comments of the discussant. Then the floor will be open for participants to ask questions and discuss the research. To be able to actively take part in the discussion, please read the draft paper beforehand which is available upon request from the author. 


Eva Fodor is a Professor of Gender Studies at the Central European University and a Research Affiliate at DI. Eva works in the field of comparative social inequalities.  Specifically, she is interested in how and why gender differences in the labor market and elsewhere are shaped, reshaped, renegotiated and reproduced in different types of societies and in different social contexts. Her recent book, The Gender Regime of Anti-Liberal Hungary describes the introduction of what she calls a "carefare" regime in Hungary after 2010 (open access with Palgrave Pivot, 2022). Her ongoing research projects address the impact of the Covid - 19 pandemic on the division of care work, and the transformation of the labor market during and following the pandemic.


Zsolt Enyedi is a Professor of Political Science at the Central European University and a Senior Research Fellow at DI. Zsolt’s research focuses on party politics, comparative government, church and state relations, and political psychology (especially authoritarianism, prejudices and political tolerance). His articles appeared in journals such as Political Psychology, European Journal of Political Research, Political Studies, West European Politics, Party Politics, Political Studies, Europe-Asia Studies, Problems of Post-Communism, Journal of Ideologies or European Review. Zsolt Enyedi was the 2003 recipient of the Rudolf Wildenmann Prize and the 2004 winner of the Bibo Award. His most recent book, Party System Closure, co-authored with Fernando Casal Bertoa, was published by Oxford University Press in 2021.