Search result: 18 articles

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Research Note

Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Reduce Attention to Environmental Issues?

A Panel Study Among Parents in Belgium, 2019-2020

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2022
Keywords issue competition, COVID-19 pandemic, panel study, environmental concern, Belgium
Authors Sari Verachtert, Dieter Stiers and Marc Hooghe
AbstractAuthor's information

    Theories on issue competition assume that there is only a limited number of issues that a person prioritises simultaneously. In this research note, we test this mechanism by using a panel study that was conducted among Belgian parents in 2019 and 2020. Between the two observations of the study, the country suffered a severe health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We investigate whether this crisis reduced the priority of environmental issues among respondents. Our results show that there was indeed a significant decline of some indicators for environmental concern, but not for others. Furthermore, we show that a higher priority for the health-related and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with a steeper decline in environmental concern.


Sari Verachtert
Sari Verachtert is a PhD student at the Centre for Political Science at the University of Leuven. Her research focuses mainly on attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable development.

Dieter Stiers
Dieter Stiers is post-doctoral researcher of FWO Vlaanderen at the Centre for Political Science Research at KU Leuven. His research focuses on elections and voting behaviour.

Marc Hooghe
Marc Hooghe is a Full Professor of Political Science at the University of Leuven. He has written mostly about political participation and political trust.
Article

Access_open Global Solidarity and Collective Intelligence in Times of Pandemics

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Global solidarity, Pandemics, Global Existential Threats, Collective Intelligence, CrowdLaw
Authors José Luis Martí
AbstractAuthor's information

    Some of the existential threats we currently face are global in the sense that they affect us all, and thus matter of global concern and trigger duties of moral global solidarity. But some of these global threats, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, are global in a second, additional, sense: discharging them requires joint, coordinated global action. For that reason, these twofold global threats trigger political – not merely moral – duties of global solidarity. This article explores the contrast between these two types of global threats with the purpose of clarifying the distinction between moral and political duties of global solidarity. And, in the absence of a fully developed global democratic institutional system, the article also explores some promising ways to fulfill our global political duties, especially those based on mechanisms of collective intelligence such as CrowdLaw, which might provide effective solutions to these global threats while enhancing the democratic legitimacy of public decision-making.


José Luis Martí
José Luis Martí is Associate Professor of Legal and Political Philosophy, Department of Law, Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona.
Editorial

Access_open Solidarity and COVID-19: An Introduction

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Authors Wouter Veraart, Lukas van den Berge and Antony Duff
Author's information

Wouter Veraart
Wouter Veraart is Professor of Legal Philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Lukas van den Berge
Lukas van den Berge is Assistant Professor of Legal Theory at Utrecht University.

Antony Duff
Antony Duff is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Stirling and Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota.
Article

Access_open The Exceptionality of Solidarity

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Solidarity, COVID-19, Crisis, Normalcy, Exceptionality
Authors Amalia Amaya Navarro
AbstractAuthor's information

    In times of crisis, we witness exceptional expressions of solidarity. Why does solidarity spring in times of crisis when it wanes in normal times? An inquiry into what may explain the differences between the expression of solidarity in crisis vs. normalcy provides, as I will argue in this article, important insights into the conditions and nature of solidarity. Solidarity requires, I will contend, an egalitarian ethos and state action within and beyond the state. It is neither a momentary political ideal, nor an exclusionary one, which depends for its sustainment on formal, legal, structures. Transient, sectarian, and informal conceptions of solidarity unduly curtail the demands of solidarity by restricting its reach to times of crisis, to in-group recipients, and to the social rather than the legal sphere. The article concludes by discussing some aspects of the dynamics of solidarity and its inherent risks that the analysis of the exceptionality of solidarity helps bring into focus.


Amalia Amaya Navarro
Amalia Amaya Navarro is British Academy Global Professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.
Article

Access_open Solidarity, Religious Freedom and COVID-19

The Case of the Ultra-Orthodox Sects in Israel

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Social solidarity, COVID-19, Religious freedom, Cultural defence, Ultra-Orthodox sects in Israel
Authors Miriam Gur-Arye and Sharon Shakargy
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article discusses the tension between social solidarity and religious freedom as demonstrated by the refusal of the ultra-Orthodox sects in Israel to comply with COVID-19 regulations. The article provides a detailed description of the refusal to comply with the regulations restricting mass prayer services in synagogues and studying Torah in the yeshivas, thus interfering with the ultra-Orthodox religious life. The article suggests possible explanations for that refusal, based on either religious beliefs or a socio-political claim to autonomy, and discusses whether the polity should be willing to tolerate such a refusal on the basis of the cultural defence. The article concludes that despite the drastic restrictions on religious life caused by the social distancing regulations, and the special importance of freedom of religion, reducing the pandemic’s spread called for awarding priority to solidarity over religious freedom, and the enforcement of social solidarity legal duties – the social distancing regulations – on all.


Miriam Gur-Arye
Miriam Gur-Arye is the Judge Basil Wunsh Professor of Criminal Law, Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Sharon Shakargy
Sharon Shakargy is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Article

Access_open Solidarity and Community

From the Politics of the Clan to Constituent Power

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Solidarity, Community, COVID-19 pandemic, Humanity, Ethnocentrism
Authors Luigi Corrias
AbstractAuthor's information

    What is at stake in invoking solidarity in legal-political contexts? The guiding hypothesis of this article is that solidarity is always and necessarily linked to the concept of community. A plea for solidarity will, in other words, directly lead one to the question: solidarity with whom? On the one hand, solidarity may be understood as extending only to those who belong to the same community as us. In this reading, solidarity builds upon an already existing community and applies to members only. On the other hand, invoked by those who aim to question the status quo, solidarity also plays a key role in practices of contestation. In these contexts, it focuses on collective action and the reimagination of political community. The article ends by articulating how this second interpretation of solidarity might prove helpful in making sense of our current predicament of a global pandemic.


Luigi Corrias
Luigi Corrias is Assistant Professor of Legal Philosophy, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open Living with Others in Pandemics

The State’s Duty to Protect, Individual Responsibility and Solidarity

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, The state’s duty to protect, Duty to rescue, Responsibility, Solidarity
Authors Konstantinos A Papageorgiou
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article discusses a range of important normative questions raised by anti-COVID-19 measures and policies. Do governments have the right to impose such severe restrictions on individual freedom and furthermore do citizens have obligations vis-à-vis the state, others and themselves to accept such restrictions? I will argue that a democratic state may legitimately enforce publicly discussed, properly enacted and constitutionally tested laws and policies in order to protect its citizens from risks to life and limb. Even so, there is a natural limit, factual and normative, to what the state or a government can do in this respect. Citizens will also need to take it upon themselves not to harm and to protect others and in the context of a pandemic this means that endorsement of restrictions or other mandatory measures, notably vaccination, is not to be seen as a matter of personal preference concerning the supposedly inviolable sovereignty of one’s own body.


Konstantinos A Papageorgiou
Konstantinos A Papageorgiou is Professor of the Philosophy of Law at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Law.

    This study explores the spread of disinformation relating to the Covid-19 pandemic on the internet, dubbed by some as the pandemic’s accompanying “infodemic”, and the societal reactions to this development across different countries and platforms. The study’s focus is on the role of states and platforms in combatting online disinformation.
    Through synthesizing answers to questions submitted by more than 40 researchers from 20 countries within the GDHR Network, this exploratory study provides a first overview of how states and platforms have dealt with Corona-related disinformation. This can also provide incentives for further rigorous studies of disinformation governance standards and their impact across different socio-cultural environments.
    Regarding the platforms’ willingness and efficacy in removing (presumed) disinformation, a majority of submissions identifies a shift towards more intervention in pandemic times. Most submitters assess that this shift is widely welcomed in their respective countries and more often considered as taking place too slowly (rather than being perceived as entailing dangers for unjustified restrictions of freedom of expression). The picture is less clear when it comes to enforcing non-speech related infection prevention measures.
    While the dominant platforms have been able to defend, or even solidify, their position during the pandemic, communicative practices on those platforms are changing. For officials, this includes an increasing reliance on platforms, especially social networks, for communicating infection prevention rules and recommendations. For civil society, the pandemic has brought an increasing readiness – and perceived need – to intervene against disinformation, especially through fact-checking initiatives.
    National and local contexts show great variance at whether platform-driven disinformation is conceived as a societal problem. In countries where official sources are distrusted and/or seen as disseminating disinformation criticism against private information governance by platforms remains muted. In countries where official sources are trusted disinformation present on platforms is seen more negatively.
    While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram play important roles in the pandemic communication environment, some replies point towards an increasing importance of messaging apps for the circulation of Covid-19-related disinformation. These apps, like Telegram or WhatsApp, tend to fall under the radar of researchers, because visibility of content is limited and scraping is difficult, and because they are not covered by Network Enforcement Act-type laws that usually exclude one-to-one communication platforms (even if they offer one-to-many channels).
    Vis-à-vis widespread calls for a (re)territorialization of their content governance standards and processes amid the pandemic, platform companies have maintained, by and large, global standards. Standardized, featured sections for national (health) authorities to distribute official information via platforms are exceptions thereto.


Matthias C. Kettemann
Prof. dr. Matthias C. Kettemann, LL.M. (Harvard) is head of the research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces” at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut.

Martin Fertmann
Martin Fertmann is a PhD student at the Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut’s research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces”.

    Terms-of-service based actions against political and state actors as both key subjects and objects of political opinion formation have become a focal point of the ongoing debates over who should set and enforce the rules for speech on online platforms.
    With minor differences depending on national contexts, state regulation of platforms creating obligations to disseminate such actors’ information is considered dangerous for the free and unhindered discursive process that leads to the formation of public opinions.
    Reactions to the suspension of Trump as not the first, but the most widely discussed action of platform companies against a politician (and incumbent president) provide a glimpse on the state of platform governance debates across participating countries.
    Across the countries surveyed politicians tend to see the exercise of content moderation policies of large platform companies very critically
    The majority of politicians in European countries seem to be critical of the deplatforming of Trump, emphasizing fundamental rights and calling for such decisions to be made by states, not private companies
    These political standpoints stand in an unresolved conflict with the constitutional realities of participating countries, where incumbents usually cannot invoke fundamental rights when acting in their official capacities and where laws with “must carry” requirements for official information do not exist for social media and would likely only be constitutional for narrowly defined, special circumstances such as disaster prevention.
    Facebooks’ referral of the Trump-decision to its Oversight Board sparked a larger debate about institutional structures for improving content governance. The majority of participating countries has experience with self- or co-regulatory press-, media- or broadcasting councils to which comparisons can be drawn, foreshadowing the possible (co-regulatory) future of governing online speech.
    Media commentators in participating countries interpreted the deplatforming of Trump as a signal that far-right parties and politicians around the world may face increasing scrutiny, while conservative politicians and governments in multiple participating countries instrumentalized the actions against Trump as supposed proof of platform’s bias against conservative opinions.
    Even without specific legal requirements on content moderation, submissions from several countries refer to a general – often: constitutional – privileging of speech of politicians and office holders. This could potentially support or even compel the decisions of platforms to leave content of political actors up even if it violates their terms of service.


Martin Fertmann
Martin Fertmann is a PhD student at the Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut’s research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces”

Matthias C. Kettemann
Prof. dr. Matthias C. Kettemann, LL.M. (Harvard) is head of the research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces” at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut.

Albert Dzur
Albert Dzur is Distinguished Research Professor, Departments of Political Science and Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, USA. Contact author: awdzur@bgsu.edu.
Article

Opposition in Times of COVID-19 – To Support or Not to Support?

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2021
Keywords minority government, rally-around-the-flag, COVID-19, mainstream parties, challenger parties, opposition, party goals
Authors Britt Vande Walle, Wouter Wolfs and Steven Van Hecke
AbstractAuthor's information

    COVID-19 has hit many countries all over the world, and its impact on (party) politics has been undeniable. This crisis situation functions as an opportunity structure incentivising opposition forces to support the government. Not much is known about what drives opposition parties to (not) support the government in crisis situations. This article integrates the literature on rally-around-the-flag, political opportunity structures, party types and party goals. More specifically, we focus on the behaviour of opposition parties towards the government’s crisis response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We analyse whether and how the party type influences the position of the party vis-à-vis the governmental coalition, focusing on the case of Belgium. We categorise the seven opposition parties in Belgium as challenger or mainstream parties and explain their behaviour on the basis of policy-, office- or vote-seeking motives. Our analysis is based on party voting behaviour, elite interviews and an analysis of the main plenary debates.


Britt Vande Walle
Britt Vande Walle is PhD Researcher at the KU Leuven Public Governance Instituted, funded by a FWO fellowship ‘Fundamental Research’. Her research focuses on comparative politics, political parties, and political party think tanks. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9594-9897.

Wouter Wolfs
Wouter Wolfs is Senior Researcher at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute. His research interests include the European Union, political finance, legislative studies and political parties. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6214-5972.

Steven Van Hecke
Steven Van Hecke is Associate Professor in Comparative and EU Politics at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute. His research focuses on Europarties, EU institutions and European integration history. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0215-5463.
Article

Performing the COVID-19 Crisis in Flemish Populist Radical-Right Discourse

A Case Study of Vlaams Belang’s Coronablunderboek

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2021
Keywords populism, COVID-19, crisis, discourse
Authors Jens Meijen
AbstractAuthor's information

    In June 2020, the Flemish populist radical right party Vlaams Belang (VB) published the Corona Blunder Book (CBB; Coronablunderboek in Dutch), detailing the government’s mistakes in handling the COVID-19 crisis. Populist parties can ‘perform’ crisis by emphasising the mistakes made by opponents (Moffitt, 2015) and may use a specifically populist discursive style, consisting largely of aggressive and sarcastic language (Brubaker, 2017). This paper takes the CBB as a case study in the populist performance of crisis and the populist style, finding that the book is, first, a clear example of populist ‘everyman’ stylistics and the performance of crisis, and, second, that VB uses the book to shift the COVID-19 crisis from a public health crisis to a crisis of governance, seeking to blame Belgium’s federal structure for the government’s alleged mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic and hence arguing for Flemish independence, one of the party’s main agenda points.


Jens Meijen
Jens Meijen is a PhD candidate at Leuven International and European Studies (LINES) at KU Leuven. His research focuses on nationalism, populism, and diplomacy.
Article

Access_open States of Emergency

Analysing Global Use of Emergency Powers in Response to COVID-19

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords coronavirus, emergency law, emergency powers, autocratization, democratic deconsolidation, state of emergency, rule of law, transparency, accountability, legislative scrutiny
Authors Joelle Grogan
AbstractAuthor's information

    The measures taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic have been among the most restrictive in contemporary history, and have raised concerns from the perspective of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Building on a study of the legal measures taken in response to pandemic in 74 countries, this article considers the central question of the use of power during an emergency: is it better or worse for democracy and the rule of law to declare an emergency or, instead, to rely on ordinary powers and legislative frameworks? The article then considers whether the use of powers (ordinary or emergency) in response to the pandemic emergency has ultimately been a cause, or catalyst of, further democratic deconsolidation. It concludes on a note of optimism: an emerging best practice of governmental response reliant on public trust bolstered by rationalized and transparent decision-making and the capacity to adapt, change and reform measures and policies.


Joelle Grogan
Dr. Joelle Grogan is Senior Lecturer in Law, Middlesex University London.
Article

Increased Uptake of Surveillance Technologies During COVID-19

Implications for Democracies in the Global South

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords surveillance technology, platform economy, COVID-19, democracy, global south, belt and road initiative
Authors Alex Read
AbstractAuthor's information

    Social change and introduction of new technologies have historically followed crises such as pandemics, and COVID-19 has seen increasing public tracking through the use of digital surveillance technology. While surveillance technology is a key tool for enhancing virus preparedness and reducing societal risks, the speed of uptake is likely to raise ethical questions where citizens are monitored and personal data is collected. COVID-19 has occurred during a period of democratic decline, and the predominant surveillance-based business model of the ‘platform economy’, together with the development and export of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered surveillance tools, carries particular risks for democratic development in the countries of the Global South. Increased use of surveillance technology has implications for human rights and can undermine the individual privacy required for democracies to flourish. Responses to these threats must come from new regulatory regimes and innovations within democracies and a renewed international approach to the threats across democracies of the Global North and South.


Alex Read
Alex Read, democratic governance consultant for organisations including UNDP, Inter-Parliamentary Union, Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
Article

Patience, Ladies

Gender-Sensitive Parliamentary Responses in a Time of Crisis

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords gender sensitivity, parliament, responsiveness, COVID-19, democracy, women
Authors Sonia Palmieri and Sarah Childs
AbstractAuthor's information

    In early 2020, in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, numerous parliaments played their rightful democratic role by following the advice of health and economic experts and swiftly passing emergency legislation and relief packages. This was, in many countries, an attempt to reach an equilibrium between saving lives and saving economic livelihoods, on the understanding that both were in serious jeopardy. In the face of public health measures many parliaments also found themselves having to reform their own rules, procedures and practices. In both cases – policy interventions and institutional redesign – it appears that parliamentary responses to the Covid-19 situation were less commonly based on the advice of gender experts or informed by considerations of gender inequalities. Few, if any, emergency packages were designed following a systematic consideration of existing, deeply entrenched gender inequalities, despite continuous public analysis and commentary about the disproportionate gender impacts of the pandemic and the resulting lockdowns; and no parliaments instituted (temporary) rule changes that prioritized the voices of women parliamentarians or constituents. In this article, which draws on our work drafting the UN Women Covid-19 Parliamentary Primer & Checklist, we revisit the democratic case for gender-sensitive parliaments, highlighting their particular relevance to the 2020 pandemic. We introduce our model for gender-sensitive crisis responses across four key stages of the parliamentary process presented in the Primer – representation, deliberation, legislation and scrutiny – and offer an initial assessment of what transpired in the world’s parliaments based on an IPU survey. We suggest that if parliaments are to be gender-sensitive institutions in times of crisis, they must not only change how they do politics but also develop and sustain a robust political culture that values gender equality and an ethic of caring that supports new rules, procedures and practices that better redress institutional gender deficiencies.


Sonia Palmieri
Sonia Palmieri, Australian National University.

Sarah Childs
Sarah Childs, Royal Holloway, University of London.

Gábor Kecskés
Gábor Kecskés: research fellow, Eötvös Loránd Research Network, Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies, Budapest; associate professor of law, Széchenyi István University, Győr.

    This article relies on the premise that to understand the significance of Open Access Repositories (OARs) it is necessary to know the context of the debate. Therefore, it is necessary to trace the historical development of the concept of copyright as a property right. The continued relevance of the rationales for copyright interests, both philosophical and pragmatic, will be assessed against the contemporary times of digital publishing. It follows then discussion about the rise of Open Access (OA) practice and its impact on conventional publishing methods. The present article argues about the proper equilibrium between self-interest and social good. In other words, there is a need to find a tool in order to balance individuals’ interests and common will. Therefore, there is examination of the concept of property that interrelates justice (Plato), private ownership (Aristotle), labour (Locke), growth of personality (Hegel) and a bundle of rights that constitute legal relations (Hohfeld). This examination sets the context for the argument.


Nikos Koutras
Postdoctoral Researcher, Faculty of Law, University of Antwerp.

José Monserrat Filho
Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), Brazilian Association of Air and Space Law (SBDA), Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
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