From Crisis to Depressions Cover Image

Krízistől válságokig
From Crisis to Depressions

Author(s): Ákos András Kovács
Subject(s): Political history
Published by: AETAS Könyv- és Lapkiadó Egyesület

Summary/Abstract: The word “crisis” (appearing in various forms due to the multi-lingual nature of the age) turns up quite often in texts written at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. This poses a couple of questions to the historians of the era. The paper attempts to show how the concept of crisis was used at the turn of the century, and looks for examples of phenomena that can be interpreted along these concepts of crisis. The concept of crisis had had quite tangible meanings ever since antiquity, but in the 18th century it was gradually transformed first into a social-political and then into more of an economic concept. This transformation process can also be observed in the Hungary of the time. The dilemmas of the usage of the concept are apparent until the middle of the 19th century in texts related to medicine, literary criticism and later to politics. Looking at the translations of the era, we can also observe that the word did not have a well-defined meaning in contemporary Hungarian, its conceptual boundaries were not sharp, and coexistent word forms were continuously competing with each other. In the end, “crisis” gradually lost its original meaning, and the Latin form was slowly replaced by the Hungarian term “válság” (depression). In connection with the temporalization of certain social concepts, it gradually spread from the areas of medicine (and literary criticism) to the areas of politics and society as well as to economy, in many cases following a certain cyclicism. But defining the concept of depression and formulating a “tipology of depression” is a difficult task: probably scholars themselves need to define the concept of depression with which they plan to work in a historical perspective, when discussing either economic, social or mental historical questions.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 5-18
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: Hungarian