theorizing democracy in a pandemic

This is newly published: Peter Levine, “Theorizing Democracy in a Pandemic,” Democratic Theory, vol. 2, issue 2 (Winter 2020), pp. 134-142 https://doi.org/10.3167/dt.2020.070216. Abstract:

The COVID-19 pandemic raises questions about the future of democracy and civil society. Some recent predictions seem to use the suffering to score points in ongoing political arguments. As a better example of how to describe the future during a crisis, I cite the prophetic voice of Martin Luther King, Jr. King does not merely predict: he calls for action, joins the action, and makes himself responsible for its success or failure. With these cautions about prediction in mind, I venture two that may guide immediate responses. First, communities may erect or strengthen unjustifiable barriers to outsiders, because boundaries enhance collective action. Second, although the pandemic may not directly change civic behavior, an economic recession will bankrupt some organizations through which people engage.

The whole special issue on Democracy in the Time of COVID-19 looks interesting and is currently available for free.

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.