Vol. 2 No. 2 (2022)
Making Foreigners in Pre-Modern Central Europe

Argumentative Uses of ‘Otherness‘ and ‘Foreignness‘ in Pre-Modern Political Debates in Central Europe

Julia Burkhardt
Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich

Published 22-12-2022

How to Cite

Burkhardt, Julia. 2022. “Argumentative Uses of ‘Otherness‘ and ‘Foreignness‘ in Pre-Modern Political Debates in Central Europe”. Historical Studies on Central Europe 2 (2):22-42. https://doi.org/10.47074/HSCE.2022-2.03.


The article investigates political debates about royal succession and noble participation in fifteenth-century Hungary. The political language of that time was often marked by strong references to ‘own’ (seemingly ‘national’) identities and aspects of ‘foreignness’ that were regarded as (or at least argumentatively marked as) unwelcome. While references like this have been interpreted as supposed proof of a pre-modern form of xenophobia, this article suggests analysing the complexity of political structures, the various layers of communication with different legitimation strategies, and forms of conflict escalation. Drawing from recent sociological studies, medieval discourses and semantics of ‘foreignness’ can then be understood as means of shaping identities and legitimizing claims for societal participation.