Democracy in flux: a systemic view on the impact of COVID-19

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how a systemic view of democracy can provide insights into the myriad ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic affects democracies worldwide. This enables the authors to offer practical suggestions for strengthening democracy through meaningful participation in the spaces where deficits are most apparent.

Design/methodology/approach – The authors use the systems approach that has emerged from the deliberative and participatory democracy literature in recent years to map out the impacts of COVID-19. In this paper, the authors set out this approach as an agenda for future, more comprehensive research.

Findings – The authors’ preliminary overview suggests that democratic spaces are reconfigured during COVID-19, with participatory spaces shrinking, overlapping and invading each other. Based on the systemic overview, the authors suggest participatory interventions to address particular points of weakness such as accountability.

Originality/value – Taking a systemic approach to analysing COVID-19’s impacts on democracy enables the authors to understand the pressure points where democratic values and participation are under strain and where citizens’ participation is essential not only for strengthening democracy but also addressing the public health challenge of COVID-19.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
JournalTransforming Government: People, Process and Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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