Call for papers: Political Repercussions of the Pandemic

The Serbian Political Science Association Annual International Conference
Conference, 26-27 September 2020
Belgrade, Faculty of Political Science


The pandemic has brought considerable changes in every area of social life, including private and family relations, healthcare, culture, economy, media, and politics and international relations. The consequences have been mainly harmful so far. The question is whether negative effects will persist or trigger responses from governments and other relevant actors to prevent approaching ecological, health, economic, and political crises.

The biggest changes have occurred in politics. The lockdown brought about many restrictions and prohibitions of human rights. The lockdown was inevitable, but concomitant abuses were not. To what extent were the restrictions legitimate and proportional to dangers posed by the pandemic? Will the human rights regime, notably in the sphere of privacy, endure lasting damage? The pandemic made us revisit the issues of privacy, economic and social justice as well as the idea of a welfare state.

We invite academics to seek solutions in the field of family, social, and healthcare policy, European integration, democracy, and, above all - the protection of human rights.

* * *

The lockdown caused many changes in collective behavior. Domestic violence increased while the healthcare system in some countries turned out to be inadequate to deal with new challenges. The pandemic has raised issues of healthcare and social policy reforms. Will our perception of social justice change after 4 million infected and 300,000 deaths in less than six months? Can we expect a more active debate about universal health insurance and universal basic income?

The pandemic has sparked a torrent of fake news. Conspiracy theories about how Covid-19 was made in the laboratory as part of the biochemical war influenced the relations of the great powers (China and the USA). Will the pandemic foster exclusive nationalism and intolerance towards minorities and migrants? The contagion has continued to deepen divisions within the European Union. Once again, the EU failed to reach a consensus on the issue of solidarity concerning the cost of the crisis. Will these developments adversely affect European integration in the Western Balkans?

The political consequences of the pandemic have been diverse. Most countries introduced a softer or stricter lockdown with significant limitations of human rights. Were all restrictions justified? A state of emergency has been imposed in almost 50 countries around the world. Given the absence of the vaccine, will the pandemic change our understanding of this concept?

Finally, while some countries appear to have failed to enforce lockdowns, others used state of emergency as a pretext to autocratize the political system. Some prime ministers were given dictatorial powers during the pandemic. In several countries, parliament was suspended and emergency decisions transferred to executive or ad-hoc administrative bodies. In some countries, the "transfer" of power has not been successful. Why did autocratisation appear in some countries but not in others?

We suggest the following topics to explore:

  • Pandemic and human rights
  • Pandemic and democracy
  • Pandemic and state of emergency
  • Pandemic and the problem of enforcement of lockdown
  • The impact of expertise on public policy
  • What changes are expected in social and economic policy after the pandemic?
  • Fake news and conspiracy theories about the origin of Covid-19
  • Pandemic, European solidarity, and the future of European integration
  • Pandemic and environment
  • Pandemic and welfare state, universal basic income, and universal healthcare

International Selection Committee: Chip Gagnon (Ithaca College, USA), Maria Spirova (Unuiversiteit Leiden, Leiden), Marina Popescu (CEU, Vienna), Goran Čular (Faculty of Political Science, Zagreb), Ivan Damjanovski (Law Faculty, Skopje), Asim Mujkić (Faculty of Political Science, Sarajevo), Bojan Todosijević (Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade), Ana Milojević (Faculty of Political Science, Belgrade), Jelena Vasiljević (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, Belgrade), Rok Zupančič (Faculty of Social Sciences, Ljubljana)

Please email paper proposals (including a paper title, abstract of up to 250 words, author’s email address, and short biography) to

Deadline for paper proposals is 30 July 2020. The selection committee will inform all applicants about the outcome of their applications by 10 August. Papers from the conference will be published in conference proceedings.

The conference will be held at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade. In case the pandemic does not subside and blocks the physical gathering, the panels will take place online.