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Niedermüller, Péter

ungarischer Ethnograph und Essayist

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3 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

Galamus - Hungary | 25/01/2011

Péter Niedermüller on Europe's sideline culture

Europe has lost the cultural hegemony it has claimed for centuries, writes cultural anthropoligist Péter Niedermüller in the left-wing opinion portal Galamus: "From the perspective of the philosophy of history and society, the idea of a hierarchy among nations and civilisations goes back as early as the 18th century. Back then it manifested itself in the conviction that the differences between nations and cultures reflect differences in values and stages of development. This philosophy led ... to a mind-set in which Europe - or rather European culture - stood at the centre, and which clearly separated itself from other cultures. This mentality of Eurocentrism ... claimed for itself a universal character. ... Europe, or to put it another way 'Western culture', has in fact never understood or accepted that there are also other cultures and forms of modernity. ... Historical events and socio-cultural developments in the past two to three centuries have put this hegemonial view into question. Not only economically but also culturally Europe has lost its leading edge and been pushed to the sidelines."

Galamus - Hungary | 10/08/2010

Hungary's new president by the grace of Orbán

Right-wing conservative politician Pál Schmitt was sworn in last Friday as Hungary's new president. To be successful in today's Hungary you no longer need expert knowledge, writes Péter Niedermüller on the left-liberal opinion portal Galamus: "Basically we all know which personal attributes are behind Schmitt's rise to become Hungary's most high-ranking representative and the guardian of Hungarian democracy: he's an Olympic champion (in fencing), amusing to talk to, a good piano player, he speaks several languages and on top of all that he's a 'dashing man' - as my older neighbour says. Apart from the Olympic title the new head of state has the same attributes that countless other people in Hungary possess. In other words, in this country anyone can make it big. Expertise and experience are passé. ... Anyone who wants a career in politics has to fulfil two basic requirements: be a member of the conservative Fidesz ruling party ... and be loyal to head of government Viktor Orbán, to the point of self-denial." 

Élet és Irodalom - Hungary | 17/02/2006

Cartoon Dispute

Essayist Peter Niedermüller asserts that the cartoon dispute is not a "battle between cultures", but rather a battle between a people taking refuge from poverty in religious fundamentalism on the one hand, and the considerably better-off Europeans on the other, who are concerned about losing their current prosperity. According to Niedermüller, both sides appear incapable of attaining a more in-depth understanding of the other's culture and religion. "For many, the concept of a 'battle between cultures' is an ideal explanation which, however, is an extreme over-simplification of the fundamental conflicts in this ever-changing world. The lesson to be learned from the cartoon row – if there is one at all – is that the time of simple truths is over. Thinking in terms of 'blocks' and clichés, cultural essentialism, the lack of differentiation and objectiveness – all this does not offer a solution, but rather leads to increasingly aggressive confrontation." Niedermüller points out that in our highly complex and – for an increasing number of people – ever more confusing world, the "ideology of anti-modernity" is becoming more and more attractive. "Its assertion of long-term, even eternal values and its perception of the different cultures and religions as homogeneous, timeless systems offer an escape from ontological insecurity."

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