PAGE ::: 1

INFO   :::  Panels and Conferences > Cultural Identity of the Hungarian Community in Vojvodina


Cultural Identity of the Hungarian Community
in Vojvodina


The second panel discussion out of three planned under the project "The Role of the Hungarian Community in Serbia" was organized on November 19, 2008, in Subotica. Though the panel was primarily meant to deal with the cultural identity of Vojvodina Hungarians, the discussion showed that other ethno-cultural communities were much concerned with the topic as well. For, as Professor Alpar Losoncz put it, the cultural identity of Vojvodina Hungarians is shaped in the triangle of the cultures of Serbs and Hungarians, and the authentic culture of Vojvodina Hungarians.

There are no independent cultures, said Professor Janos Banjai, there are only cultural exchanges that are the more intensive the more complex and differentiated historical ties between them are. Neither are there partial cultures since a minority culture is not a part of a majority culture - it is either complete and authentic or non-existent. A minority culture is open to influences from other cultures, he said, though some people mistakenly believe that minority cultures just "absorb and produce nothing."

Reminding of ongoing discussions in Europe about cultural omissions, Pavel Domonji of the Helsinki Committee said it would be interesting to see the findings of a survey about presence of other cultures in the culture we consider our own. Such a survey would not deprive Hungarian culture of any value but would only justify the thesis about Hungarian culture being not Hungarian solely.

Some participants in the panel underlined the influence of historical developments and social circumstances on identity creation. In some periods Vojvodina Hungarians were an avant-garde vis-a-vis the mainstream in their mother country. Their pop culture had the best market in Hungary itself and considerably influenced the musicians over there. Other participants paid more attention to multilingualism. They warned about the necessity for the state to intervene in the domain of multilingualism as a key factor of coexistence in multiethnic communities.

Today, it seems to be politically most opportune to speak of multiculturalism but nothing is being done for the establishment of a genuine interethnic communication, said journalist Zuza Serences.

Referring to the findings of an empirical research, Iren Molnar Garbic, professor from Subotica, said Vojvodina Hungarians had both national and regional identities. Their national identity is primarily determined by their language, while the regional by objective (natural, social and cultural characters of the places they live in), communication and emotional elements. According to her, Hungarians are aware that their collective and individual identities are weaker and weaker, the same as their political and cultural influence on the province. Economic factors determine the identities of the growing number of Hungarians more significantly than any vain nationalistic politicization. She also indicated that over 50 percent of the interviewees in the survey considered Vojvodina their homeland.

According to Endre Pap, president of Vojvodina Academy of Arts and Sciences, such debates should better be organized in Belgrade than in Subotica or Novi Sad. Citizens of Vojvodina, members of different ethnic communities, know each other and the problems challenging them more than, say, citizens of Belgrade. This is why meetings as this one should be called in the places where people know little about Hungarians or other minorities.









PAGE ::: 1










Copyright * Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia - 2008

Web Design * Eksperiment