The publisher kindly made the content available freely until at least the end of the year 2020:


As countries around the world went into lockdown, the editors of this special issue of "Democratic Theory" turned to 32 leading scholars working on different aspects of democracy and asked them what they think about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted democracy. Synthesizing the reflections of these scholars, presented in 20 articles of the special issues, five key insights about the prospects and challenges of enacting democracy both during and after the pandemic emerge: (1) COVID-19 has had corrosive effects on already endangered democratic institutions, (2) COVID-19 has revealed alternative possibilities for democratic politics in the state of emergency, (3) COVID-19 has amplified the inequalities and injustices within democracies, (4) COVID-19 has demonstrated the need for institutional infrastructure for prolonged solidarity, and (5) COVID-19 has highlighted the predominance of the nation-state and its limitations. Collectively, these insights open up important normative and practical questions about what democracy should look like in the face of an emergency and what we might expect it to achieve under such circumstances.

Table of Contents


Democracy in a Global Emergency - Five Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

By: Afsoun Afsahi, Emily Beausoleil, Rikki Dean, Selen A. Ercan, and Jean-Paul Gagnon


Who Governs in Deep Crises? The Case of Germany

By: Wolfgang Merkel

COVID and the Era of Emergencies - What Type of Freedom is at Stake?

By: Danielle Celermajer and Dalia Nassar     

How Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Affect Democracy?

By: Lauri Rapeli and Inga Saikkonen

Centralized or Decentralized - Which Governance Systems are Having a “Good” Pandemic?

By: Jennifer Gaskell and Gerry Stoker

COVID Revolution

By: Jodi Dean

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Central and Eastern Europe - The Rise of Autocracy and Democratic Resilience

By: Petra Guasti

Latin America and COVID-19 - Political Rights and Presidential Leadership to the Test

By: Brigitte Weiffen  

The Democracy of Everyday Life in Disaster - Holding Our Lives in Their Hands

By: Nancy L. Rosenblum

Babies and Boomers - Intergenerational Democracy and the Political Epidemiology of COVID-19

By: Toby Rollo

COVID-19, Democracies, and (De)Colonialities

By: Marcos S. Scauso, Garrett FitzGerald, Arlene B. Tickner, Navnita Chadha Behera, Chengxin Pan, Chih-yu Shih, and Kosuke Shimiz    

Gender, Leadership and Representative Democracy - The Differential Impacts of the Global Pandemic

By: Kim Rubenstein, Trish Bergin, and Pia Rowe

Innovation Policy, Structural Inequality, and COVID-19

By: Shobita Parthasarathy

Rethinking Democratic Theories of Justice in the Economy after COVID-19

By: Louise Haagh

Solidarity in Times of Pandemics

By: Barbara Prainsack 

Theorizing Democracy in a Pandemic

By: Peter Levine

American Quarantine - The Right to Housing in a Pandemic

By: Bonnie Honig      

Open Borders and the COVID-19 Pandemic

By: David Owen

European Democracy after COVID-19

By: Ulrike Guérot and Michael Hunklinger

No Demos in the Pandemic

By: Asma Abbas

Coronavirus, Democracy and the Challenges of Engaging a Planetary Order

By: Milja Kurki