Bernadett Csurgó – Luca Kristóf (2017) Narrative Identities and the Egalitarian Norm Among Hungarian Elite Couples


Our article aims to study the attitudes of the elite to family life and gender equality. This is a social group who still experiences significant gender imbalances. We focus on attitudes to family life, which has thus far been underresearched in elite literature. With the help of the analysis of 34 individual interviews with members of the Hungarian political, economic, and cultural elite, we identify and present three types of narrative identities: dominant, deferential, and egalitarian. The main finding from our qualitative content analysis is that egalitarian partnership norms which were discussed in every narrative and gender equality appear in most cases as a norm among the elite. However, there is a narrative tension between this norm and the couples’ actual experiences of their family life. We conclude our article with some comments on how the ideology of egalitarian essentialism strengthens gender inequalities reinforcing the underrepresentation of women in elite positions.