British Conservative Thought in a European Context

1.1. 20th Century and Contemporary British Conservatism in a European Context

The tradition of British conservatism largely diverts from the different forms of continental conservatisms. However, in different periods of its history, in the Kingdom of Hungary, conservative British culture became a point of reference. The explanation of this phenomenon (for example by Győző Concha) pointed out the similiarities between the constitutional culture of British and Hungarian political elites, including the unwritten nature of basic constitutional norms. More critical commentators referred to Hungarian Anglophilia as a kind of political utopianism, after all, the two countries, as well as their national interests lay rather far away from each other. 
According to the hypothesis of the research, British conservatism can offer a number of relevant points for Hungarian political thought, and especially in a period, when  continental Europe (and especially its cultural and political elite) came under the pressure of the ideas of a radical leftist ideology. The research is not simply to learn more about the aspects of British conservatism which might be relevant from a Cnetral European perspective. It also analysis the reactions of British conservative cultural and political elites to contemporary challenges. The research has both a comparative dimension (contrasting British with the continental variants of conservatism), and also reconstructs some of the historical antecedents of the conservative movement.

Research question:

How does British conservatism react on contemporary global political and cultural challenges? The aim is not to reconstruct the British conservative tradition for its own sake, in an antiquarian manner, but to find answers on the survival chances of British conservatism, and the most important factors which will determine this survival. A further question addresses the issue: which elements of British conservatism might be relevant in a Hungarian, or more widely, in a Central European context as well?


Ferenc Hörcher (research leader)

Ádám Smrcz (UPS, JERC, RIPG)

Gergely Egedy (UPS)