Understanding Hungarian Attitudes Toward Law in an International Context
20 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2018
Date Written: February 9, 2018
This paper analyzes some Hungarian mass attitudes toward law in the context of previous international results. Its starting point is the seminal article of James L. Gibson and Gregory A. Caldeira (1996) that studied the structure of mass attitudes toward law in Western Europe with the help of a comprehensive Eurobarometer survey. In 2015, as a part of a general empirical survey on the Hungarian legal culture, the questions of Gibson and Caldeira study were also raised. This paper discusses the results of this 2015 Hungarian survey and, thereby, it puts Hungarian mass attitudes toward law into a comparative context. Contrary to the findings of Gibson and Caldeira the legal values of the Hungarian population can be explained with the help of a structure based on four factors and this analysis suggests that demand for predictability and paternalism is stronger in Hungary, while individual freedom has less importance. Furthermore, these differences influence the structure of legal values, too. In sum, however, the results do not differ from general Western patterns fundamentally, with special regard to the fact that, as it is argued by Gibson and Caldeira, Western attitudes toward law are also to be grouped into some specific subgroups, meaning that a homogenous European pattern for legal culture, as for mass attitudes, does not exist.
Keywords: legal culture, attitudes toward law, Hungary, legal sociology, sociology of the law, rule-of-law, legal alienation, individual libert
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