MP logo MP title

Géza Sáska : The changing position of paedology in the political transformations in Hungary in the late 1940s: An interpretation

This paper presents the rise and fall of paedology, i.e. applied psychology, in Hungary following World War II. It is a story of a fragile coalition between two groups; on the one hand, the ’soft’ national-socialist educators, who were concerned with liberating the Hungarian peasant from German and Jewish control, and, on the other, the communists, mostly psychologists, influenced by Western thinking, who expected that equality would follow from the expert development of children’s abilities. The two groups agreed that the new society requires the creation of new schools, a new system of child welfare and protection, as well as an ability-based carrier guidance system. Because in effect it was these two professional groups that defined educational policy in 1945–1948, they managed, to a great extent, to overcome their obvious ideological differences. After the Communist takeover organized by Moscow in 1947, however, both groups went through a process of elimination that was complete by 1950, both institutionally and in terms of their human resources. In the strongly-centralized, one-party system, their ideas survived in opposition, as an anti-Stalinist, anti-capitalist, child-centred paradigm, the representatives of which relied on advances in psychology (itself a discipline formerly prosecuted) to realise the promises of child development and social equality.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 106. Number 4. 263-285. (2006)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Sáska Géza, H–1126 Budapest, Sólyom u. 19/a


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia