|Rhetoric of Work Women's Mobilisation in interwar Hungary: Work of Mourning and Knitting|
|This article is proposing a new theoretical framework using agency in a comparative European perspective to analyze the motivation and reasons why women in Hungary joined the Nazi movement in relationship to experience of work. The starting point is that the right-wing populist parties and movements can be compared because of their way of constructing a collective identity and of mobilising the population by appealing to their presumed homogeneity as a Volk which also means essentialising its content. The category of Volk is used in order to produce the same result: a strong difference from the “otherness”, the exclusion of some kinds of other (immigrants, black people, Jews or women) and internal cohesion and serves as an internally unifying and externally dividing category. This is a central category in the constitution of the populist right-wing movements: their rejection of internal pluralism and difference - all ambiguities and conflicts lie outside a strong identity.
The essentialism of extremes of constructing the other makes the comparative perspective relevant for research on gender relations . The most recent research in women's and gender studies is by definition concerned with questioning borders and boundaries, which have been instrumental in power relations. The ideal of Volk constitutes a major basis of political legitimisation, which conceive of it not only as a national community, embracing everyone and transcending individuals, but also as a ”transregional” unity. Research on subjectivity, work and gender already illustrated the complexity of roles women played in these extreme movements, and how "woman" became a constitutive element in constructing the "other".
Questions to be answered:
Women’s activism is a result of blurring the private and public domain, possibly through employment. So far the leftist women’s movement was analyzed as a result of increasing women’s paid employment. It is well-known that in the working class districts Nazism was very popular. In my paper based on testimonies of active members of the Arrow Cross Party, and on analyses of Nazi newspapers before and after the WWII aims to understand channels of women’s mobilization for Nazism via employment. This was the first generation of employed women therefore I am aiming to reconstruct their professional life story and what role that played in the political activity in the Arrow Cross Party. How women narrate their experiences at the work place how do they incorporate the rhetoric of work in their testimonies in front of the people’s tribunal? What do they define “the ideal woman”? What conflicts are there inside the Arrow Cross Party between the male leadership and the female members who are employed professional women?