The perception of global hierarchies: South-Eastern European patterns in comparative perspectives

In this paper we examine the views of ordinary people in Hungary and Romania about developmental trajectories and developmental hierarchies. Our work extends research on perception of global hierarchies as we include the views of ordinary people in the countries of Hungary and Romania. In addition, our research makes a unique contribution to the development and developmental hierarchy literature by examining, for the first time, how individuals define development. Although the main focus of this paper is the developmental views of Hungarians and Romanians, at times we add to our discussion results from a survey in Bulgaria and another from Albania. In this paper we conclude that developmental models are widespread among ordinary people in Hungary and Romania; we also find that the South-East European region does show some specificities in terms of the over- and under-positioning of certain countries relative to the dominant international rating system. China and, to a lesser degree, Russia were over-positioned by respondents relative to the developmental index scores of those countries. Within the region, unlike Bulgarians and Albanians, who severely underrated themselves, Hungarian and Romanian respondents put themselves in a middle position on the developmental scale. Concerning developmental items with some differences between the two countries, our data show that the economy is the most important development criterion in the minds of Hungarians and Romanians, followed by democracy, science and technology, and education.