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  • Cited by 4
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
November 2020
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Book description

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an important case study, on a global scale, of how democracy works - and fails to work - today. From leadership to citizenship, from due process to checks and balances, from globalization to misinformation, from solidarity within and across borders to the role of expertise, key democratic concepts both old and new are now being put to the test. The future of democracy around the world is at issue as today's governments manage their responses to the pandemic. Bringing together some of today's most creative thinkers, these essays offer a variety of inquiries into democracy during the global pandemic with a view to imagining post-crisis political conditions. Representing different regions and disciplines, including law, politics, philosophy, religion, and sociology, eighteen voices offer different outlooks - optimistic and pessimistic - on the future.


'A wide-ranging and provocative debate on the current crisis - generating many insights that will endure long after the Pandemic fades away.'

Bruce Ackerman - Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University

'COVID-19 has exposed millions, but its worst exposé has been the worldwide unmasking of the fragility of democracy. As emergencies multiply, leaders lie, plans collapse, risks are ignored, disinformation abounds, and scientific truth becomes a casualty, democratic governance fails, accountability collapses, communities polarize, and fearmongering, not reason, rules the day. During this annus horribilis, many have wondered: 'Are different futures possible?' In this welcome volume, two brilliant and shrewd lawyer-theorists collect eighteen thinkers from different regions and disciplines to wrestle that question and suggest how the assets of power, knowledge, citizenship, care, and sacrifice can be better marshalled in our common search for better answers.'

Harold Hongju Koh - Sterling Professor of International Law, Yale Law School, and former Legal Adviser and Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, US Department of State

'Democracy in Times of Pandemic collects the thoughts of outstanding thinkers, brilliantly provoked and compiled by two outstanding editors. Covid has shattered the imaginative structures that underlie democracy and governmentality. Anyone interested in how we might put the pieces back together should read this book.'

Robert Post - Sterling Professor of Law, Yale Law School

'Never underestimate the capacity of any form of government to use or misuse a good crisis. This book proves that pandemics are not an exception to this rule. Liberal democracy is a process, constantly transforming, constantly under attack. This book is the best contemporary overview on how democracy can and should be defended and persevered during a crisis.'

Alexander Stubb - Professor and Director of the School of Transnational Governance at the European University Institute, and former Prime Minister of Finland

'The Covid-19 pandemic will produce systemic changes in our societies and governments. This book is a thoughtful and reasoned exploration of the different possible futures for State-citizen relations, written by lawyers, sociologists, philosophers, anthropologists and political scientists.'

Sabino Cassese - Justice Emeritus of the Italian Constitutional Court, Emeritus Professor, Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa

'In this timely essay collection some of the world’s leading constitutional scholars reflect upon the impact of the pandemic on democratic rule and offer imaginations for future democratic practice. The book is particularly timely given its openness towards different standpoints, approaches, and views. The result is the curation of serious engagements with crises and how they are and ought to be addressed, thereby focusing on the leading concepts of power, knowledge, and citizenship. The approaches range from Walker’s theory of interconnection, Nicolaides’ reimagining of democracy based on decentralized politics and social protest, Desai, Randeria and Lutringer’s focus on solidarity and mutual responsibility, Kahn’s call for applying care beyond justice in times of emergency, to Weiler’s provocative yet spot-on call for scrutinizing voter responsibility. A must read for all those who wish to actively contribute to a timely, necessary - and urgent - discussion between scholars and societal actors of all stripes!'

Antje Wiener - Chair of Political Science especially Global Governance, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Hamburg

'This is a terrific edited collection on the challenges for democracy that have resulted from the pandemic. The editors have brought together an excellent group of contributors from a range of disciplines, and the organization of the material in the book serves to bring out the different dimensions of the subject.'

Paul Craig - Emeritus Professor of English Law, St John’s College, University of Oxford

'This book offers a deep and comprehensive reflection on the impact of the pandemic on democratic societies, under many different angles and perspectives. It is a thought-provoking reading, to be put on the top of the list of the books that help understanding the social and institutional transformation that is taking place under the pressure of the emergency.'

Marta Cartabia - Former President of the Italian Constitutional Court, Professor of Constitutional Law, Bocconi University, Milan

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