György Péteri

Gyorgy Peteri profile photo

Professor, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Center Associate

György Péteri is Professor of Contemporary European History at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway. A specialist of late modern and contemporary East Central Europe, particularly Hungary, he has published extensively in English and Hungarian. Péteri is the author of works such as War Communism in Hungary (1984), Revolutionary Twenties (1995), Academia and State Socialism (1998), and Global Monetary Regime and National Cerntral Banking (2002). He has been the initiator, organizer and editor for a large number of collaborative projects yielding edited publications, including Academia in Upheaval (2000 – edited together with Michael David-Fox), Muddling Through in the Long 1960s (2005 – edited together with János M. Rainer), or Imagining the West in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union (2010).

Lately, the bulk of Péteri’s writings has originated from the project Soft Power Within: The Failure of State Socialism as an Alternative Civilization. In the frameworks of this project, Péteri discusses issues pertinent to the history of everyday and private life under Communism – the particular forms and ways in which post-1945 modernity reached the shores of Soviet Bloc societies. The empirical work (from a broad selection of Hungarian archives and contemporary publications) covers areas like consumption, mobility (the advent of private mass automobilism) and leisure (hunting and vacationing). One of the central problems addressed is to what extent we may consider state socialism a success with regard to its ambitious attempt to offer to human kind a modern civilization, alternative to that of capitalism. In trying to answer this question, a great deal of attention is devoted to the social history of the party-state’s apparatus class (the class of salaried functionaries of the party and the state) and to the role of this class in bringing Western values and patterns of everyday into the cultures of Eastern Europe.

Cold War era history of everyday life; the social and cultural history of the party-state apparatus class; history of academic regime and social science research (sociology and economics)
Current Project
"Soft Power Within: The Failure of State Socialism as an Alternative Civilization"
Foreign Language


Dr. habil.
, Economic History
, Faculty of Social Sciences, Uppsala University
Selected Publications

"Consumer and consumerism under state socialism: demand-side abundance and its discontents in Hungary during the long 1960s" in: Orvar Löfgren & Barbara Czarniawska, eds, Overwhelmed by overflows? How people and organizations create and manage excess (Lund University Press and Manchester University Press, 2019), pp. 12-43.

"External Politics -- Internal Rivalries. Social Science Scholarship and Political Change in Communist Hungary", East Central Europe, vol 44, nr. 2-3 (2017).

Global Monetary Regime and National Central Banking: The Case of Hungary, 1921–1929 (Center for Hungarian Studies and Publications, 2002).

"Contested Socialisms: the conflict between critical sociology and reform economics in communist Hungary, 1967-71," Social History Vol. 41, No. 3 (June 2016): 249-266.

Alternative Modernity? Everyday Practices of Elite Mobility in Communist Hungary, 1956-1980, in: Lewis Siegelbaum, ed., The Socialist Car: Automobility in the Eastern Bloc (Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press, 2011), 47-68.

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