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Erzsébet Golnhofer and Éva Szabolcs: György Lázár and Hungarian Pedology: Myth and Reality

This paper covers a highly sensitive period in Hungarian history: the years after World War II and up to the Revolution of 1956 that saw the emergence of the communist party as the country’s ruling power. In the mythology of the history of education in post-war Hungary, Lázár is seen as the quintessential political representative of the communist dictatorship and has been demonized in the cultural and communicative memory. His name is associated with an attack against Hungary’s researchers in pedology – an early trend in psychology and pedagogy that studied children’s behaviour and development. His career both as a communist party bureaucrat and as an educational researcher is analysed. Based on archival sources, we attempted to understand how the repressive domestic environment, Soviet pressure and his own personal attitudes determined his professional choices. Elements of personal narrative and information on contemporary politics and research policy have guided us in interpreting the complex background of Lázár’s decisions. Data on his personal and professional life, including his career as a party bureaucrat, are presented as well as information on his retreat from the militant ideological and professional position he took during these years. We conclude that the demonic, mythological character of his personality was due to three reasons: his attacks were directed against renowned researchers, he was obsessive in character, and he lacked substantial scholarly achievements.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 113. Number 3. 133-151. (2013)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Golnhofer Erzsébet és Szabolcs Éva, ELTE Pedagógiai és Pszichológiai Kar Neveléstudományi Intézet, H–1075 Budapest, Kazinczy u. 23–27.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia