Local Organization of Social Services in Hungary. Crises - Reactions - Changes. Studies in Comparative Social Pedagogies and International Social Work and Social Policy

By Szabados, György | Journal of Social Research & Policy, July 2013 | Go to article overview

Local Organization of Social Services in Hungary. Crises - Reactions - Changes. Studies in Comparative Social Pedagogies and International Social Work and Social Policy


Szabados, György, Journal of Social Research & Policy


Bódi, F., Fábián, G., & Lawson,T. R. (Eds.), Local Organization of Social Services in Hungary. Crises - Reactions - Changes. Studies in Comparative Social Pedagogies and International Social Work and Social Policy, Vol. XXI, Europäischer Hochschulverlag Gmbh & Co., 2012, 488 p.

Book review

An approach of recent social policy issues and services in Hungary: dilemmas of a new compilation of studies

Three >ears after the exchange of governments and one year before the next elections in Hungary, still affected by the events of the global crisis, an almost 400 hundred page collection of novel articles raised my interest. Regarding the discipline of sociology and social policy, I often manage to find books on special issues, but not a comprehensive one which would give an overall picture of what has happened in Hungary in the last ten years in field of social affairs. Moreover, I rarely manage to find current knowledge on specific national social issues. Thus, finding one which provides an overall view of facts seems quite difficult.

According to the editors, this compilation of articles has almost two decades of antecedents, in the framework of the project called Local Organization of Social Services, with the aim to "build a bridge among different social cultures and social politics which exist in the United States, Western Europe and the so-called transition countries of Central and Eastern Europe" (Bódi, Fábián & Lawson, 2012, p. 480). With the collapsing of regimes in this part of Europe, significant changes occurred: the transition into democracy; the introduction of a market economy; privatization and the intention to make this process as smoothly and quickly as possible, without causing enormous disturbances in the operation in national society. A major change in the last years happened in politics, since the former minority party (Fidesz) gained a two-thirds majority in the last election and brought significant changes in numerous fields, such as the labor market, the taxation system, legislation, public administration or the regulations of operation of civic organizations.

During the more than twenty transition years, we may have witnessed significant successes together with significant failures. The persevering attitude to foster the process of accession to the European Union might also be experienced up to 2003, when Hungary signed the Accession Treaty. Some mention this as a new time in the history of the country. We most definitely experience signs of this in reference to the accession funds, large constructions, the transformation of the education system and we may also witness newly experienced symptoms, such as the appearance of poverty, regions lagging behind the heart of the country or the openness and exposure of the country to global market events, globalization.

This book was meant to be an element of a series of comparative research within a larger network in the Euro-Atlantic region, and further issues may be expected in the future on the status quo of other countries. Being an element of the series, it is really about what has happened lately in diverse fields of the most important social fields and what is worth to know when we try to describe the social situation of the country itself.

This compilation includes 18 diverse professional articles on different fields of social issues in Hungary, and I would also say that it include the most necessary essences. The editors of the volume are Ferenc Bódi, PhD, senior research fellow of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Prof. Gergely Fábián, PhD, dean of University of Debrecen Faculty of Health and Prof. Thomas R. Lawson, PhD, FUAS professor and director of International programs Kent School of Social Work, University of Louisville, meaning that this book is the result of a solid international scholar research partnership.

The editors have split up the essays of this volume into three different thematic fields: local organization of social services, the subject of inequality and regional policy-treatment of inequity. …

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