Democracy in a Time of Plague: A Democracy Seminar Panel


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June 11, 2021

Democracy in a Time of Plague: A Democracy Seminar Panel

By Udeepta Chakravarty

  • Democracy
  • pandemic

Democracy in a Time of Plague: Challenges & Opportunities in the Struggles Against Authoritarianism, Covid-19 and Racism In recent months, democrats have been confronted with multiple crises. In a situation in which democratic “guardrails” have long been eroded, and many countries have been dominated by xenophobic and authoritarian governments, the onset of the coronoavirus presented fundamental challenges to public health, civic commitment, and democratic governance. Citizens in liberal democracies worried about how “social distancing” would limit the ability of citizens to assemble and organize to ensure public accountability. Others were confronted by aggressive authoritarian leaders using the pandemic to extend their rule. And then the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis precipitated a protest movement against racism that has gone viral, and spread like wildfire throughout the U.S. and then throughout the world. How do the coronavirus and the viral protest movement interact? How do the protests face particular challenges given the pandemic, and in what ways do the protests represent unique opportunities to strengthen democracy even in the face of the pandemic?