The roots of the Centre for Political Discourse Studies (CEPODS) date back to the late 1970s. At that time Márton SZABÓ, Attila BECSKEHÁZI and Tibor KUCZI started a research project on ideology - initially at the University of Nyíregyháza, later at the Labour Research Institute in Budapest -, which, rather than a normative exploration, was a descriptive history of interpretations of socialist labour ideologies. In time this research project developed into an increasing effort to describe the complex 'semantic structures' of the ideologies in question. These new research directions were already formed at a new place: at the Institute of Social Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, later renamed the Institute for Political Sciences. Some of the writings that resulted from this research are collected in the first part of a book edited by Márton SZABÓ, Diszkurzív térben [In discursive space] (Budapest: Scientia Humana, 1998). At the end of this period, the theoretical reflections and empirical analyses on ideology resulted in rethinking and dismantling the familiar frameworks of ideological researches. Tükör által homályosan [Essays on ideology] consists of the pieces bearing testimony to this process.

At the beginnings of the 1990s a new formation, the Research Group for the Sociology of Political Knowledge (presently: Research Group for Political Theories) was founded within the Institute for Political Sciences, whose members began to deal with the symbolic and linguistic characteristics as well as the discursive reality of politics. The activities of this research group were the immediate antecedents of CEPODS. Initially, Attila BECSKEHÁZI, Tibor KUCZI, Balázs KISS and Márton SZABÓ constituted the group, later joined by Zsolt BODA, Péter CSIGÓ and Gábor G. FODOR. Other researchers, such as Péter BÉNDEK, András A. GERGELY and Barbara VARGA,  were also co-operating with the research group. While most of the original members have changed their research interests and some have changed their scientific life for business success, they nonetheless played an important role in the adaptation of discourse theory in Hungary. For instance, the analysis by BECSKEHÁZI and KUCZI about the 1970s volumes of a social scientific journal entitled Valóság was a breakthrough not only from a theoretical point of view, but also in the understanding of the political discourse in the late Kádár era. Similarly, KISS's Foucault-interpretations were also of great significance.

The Research Group co-operated with many Hungarian researchers of different disciplines. This work was marked by two collections of essays: Szövegvalóság: írások a szimbolikus és diszkurzív politikáról [Text-realities: Writings on symbolic and discursive politics] (Budapest: Scientia Humana 1997) and Beszélő politika: A diszkurzív politikatudomány teoretikus környezete[Talking politics: The theoretical context of discursive politics] (Budapest: Jószöveg Műhely 2000), which contain 27 studies by 25 students. On the one hand, these essays dealt with the theories of Habermas, Carl Schmitt, Luhmann, Wittgenstein, Foucault, ethnometodology, communitarian debates (MacIntyre, Taylor, Ricoeur, Walzer) and the postmodern sociology of sciences (e.g. Mulkay). On the other hand, they contained empirical research on the Hungarian postcommunist transition, the revival of ideological divisions. As regards the adaptation of theories, the Research Group also prepared many translations. Finally, the increase in political discourse studies triggered two intensive debates about the discursive approaches to politics in connection with the writings of Márton Szabó in Politikatudományi Szemle [Political Science Review, official quarterly of the Hungarian Association of Political Sciences] in 1997 and 2000. These debates were also conducive to the reception of political discourse studies in Hungarian political science.

Discursive subjects were introduced into Hungarian higher education from the mid-1990s, approximately simultaneously with the extensive reinstitutionalization of Hungarian political science after the political changes. Balázs KISS had a seminar at Corvinus University, Márton SZABÓ taught at the Department of Political Science of the University of Miskolc for four years (1994-1998) and Zsolt BODA led the seminars related to Professor SZABÓ's lectures. Márton SZABÓ's book entitled Politikai tudáselméletek [Theories of political knowledge] consists of the curricula of the lectures and seminars, and a text-book of translated studies entitled Szövegváltozatok a politikára [Textual variations on politics] was also published. The lecture series travelled to Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) in Budapest in 1998, and Márton SZABÓ has been teaching as a lecturer in the doctoral programme since 2000. In line with these events, the interest of undergraduate and graduate students concerning political discourse studies has increased. There are currently many PhD students in Hungary dealing with the study of political discourses and postmodern political theory, and some of them teach such topics at their universities.

The foundation of CEPODS is an important step in this process. Since the autumn of 2002, a Discourse Seminar with the third or fourth generation of Hungarian students of discourse studies has constituted a new beginning in the research into political discourses. As the number of participants has increased and the tasks multiplied, Márton SZABÓ and his colleagues had to think of a new framework to continue their joint work. They founded the Centre for Political Discourse Studies as an independent unit at the Institute for Political Sciences.