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Web-Talk on Social Impact of Covid-19 pandemic in Germany and India
From 15th to 17th September 2020, the New Delhi Office of the German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) organized a Web-Talk Series that aimed at furthering the understanding of the social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in India and Germany. In cooperation with the India Branch Offices of the University of Göttingen and the Free University Berlin, the Delhi Branch Office of the SAI conceptualized a Web-Talk Session on the topic ‘Authoritarianism and Democracy in Times of the Pandemic’ which was held on 15th September 2020. The Head of the SAI´s Department of Political Science Professor Rahul Mukherji participated as a speaker along with Professor Christian Wagner (FU Berlin), Dr. Lars Klein (Georg-August-University Göttingen) and Professor Shruti Tambe (Savitribai Phule Pune University). The Web-Talk was moderated by Dr. Indra Sengupta, Head of the India Branch Office of the Max Weber Stiftung. Below, you can find the abstract of the Web-Talk on ‘Authoritarianism and Democracy in Times of the Pandemic’


The current COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a massive challenge to governments all over the world. At the same time, it provides the opportunity to gain insights into the ways in which different regimes respond to a crisis on a global scale and how these responses are accepted or challenged. Some measures that governments have taken to minimize the spread of the disease constitute unforeseen interventions into basic democratic rights that would have provoked massive resistance under different circumstances. For example, the freedom of movement has been significantly restricted with severe consequences for the right to protest and the spread of misinformation about the pandemic via mass communication technologies has been met with restrictions on the right to freedom of speech. In the wake of these developments, some critics accuse governments of exploiting the pandemic to install authoritarian forms of rule while others suggest that authoritarian forms of rule have allowed the spread of COVID-19 in the first place. This gives rise to a number of questions: Are there certain yardsticks of measuring the proportionality of governments´ restrictions on the rights of their citizens under exceptional conditions? What are the long-term consequences of the pandemic on the relationship between governments and their citizens? Do different forms of rule contribute to the spread or the containment of the pandemic?
Posted on 23 Oct 2020

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