COVID-19 and the “state of exception”: assessing institutional resilience in consolidated democracies–a comparative analysis of Italy and Portugal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

How can we assess the institutional resilience of consolidated democracies in emergency situations? How can we know which regulations of the state of emergency best immunize democratic systems from intra- or inter-regime shifts? With the COVID-19 pandemic, these questions have become urgent. Although worries that intra- or inter-regime shifts may increase due to the proclamation of the state of emergency mainly target countries that were already prone to autocratization, specific complaints have been addressed at undue impingements on fundamental rights in consolidated democracies, too. In most of the current indexes, the presence or absence of certain institutional features is usually considered as per se sufficient to determine the degree of a system’s resilience. Instead, our analysis suggests that these criteria ought to be used as heuristics in the context of an in-depth analysis of institutional mechanisms. This would lead to a reformulation of how such indexes are made. In order to make this point, the article presents a qualitative methodology based on the classical theory of the “state of exception”, taking the divergent cases of Italy and Portugal as an illustration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalDemocratization
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • Autocratization
  • COVID-19
  • Democratic backsliding
  • Institutional resilience
  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • State of emergency
  • State of exception

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