The New Authoritarianism: COVID-19 and the challenges facing democracy

Hosted by LSE's public event series - COVID-19: The Policy Response

Online public event


Dr Guy Aitchison

Dr Guy Aitchison

Dr Luke Cooper

Dr Luke Cooper

Dr Nadine El-Enany

Dr Nadine El-Enany

Professor Shalini Randeria

Professor Shalini Randeria


Professor Mary Kaldor

Professor Mary Kaldor

Over the last decade political authoritarianism has been on the rise across the globe. The ‘authoritarian wave’ has touched most continents and regions. So even before the crisis unleashed by Coronavirus many peoples across the world were resisting rising authoritarianism, nationalism and racism.

Coronavirus has often been talked of as a historical rupture, igniting system change. ‘We will not go back’ to the pre-crisis world is the clarion call of the current moment. Yet, the nature of the new world being born is still far from certain. And while opportunities for progressive political change undoubtedly exist, this new historical conjuncture provides considerable opportunities for the further embedding of authoritarianism and new attacks on democracy.

Warning of these dangers a new report, Covid-19 and the new authoritarianism, co-authored by Dr Guy Aitchison and Dr Luke Cooper, surveys the rise of anti-democratic forces and assesses their reaction to these extraordinary recent developments. Moving between the global picture and British domestic politics, the report argues that a new state-dependent capitalism is coalescing in response to the crisis and it ‘fits’ all too organically with the agenda of the authoritarian populists.

Guy Aitchison (@GuyAitchison) is Lecturer in Politics and International Studies at Loughborough University and a co-author of Covid-19 and the new authoritarianism (LSE CCS, 2020). 

Luke Cooper (@lukecooper100) is a consultant researcher in the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit and co-author of Covid-19 and the new authoritarianism (LSE CCS, 2020).

Nadine El-Enany (@NadineElEnany) is Senior Lecturer in Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Research on Race and Law at Birkbeck Law School. She is author of (B)ordering Britain: law, race and empire.

Shalini Randeria (@IWM_Vienna) is the Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna, Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and the Director of the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy.

Mary Kaldor (@KaldorM) is the Director of the LSE Conflict and Civil Society Research unit. Her most recent book is Global Security Cultures.

This event is part of LSE's public event series - COVID-19: The Policy Response.

COVID-19 represents an enormous challenge for the social sciences to help governments and non-governmental organisations respond to the economic and societal consequences of the pandemic. Part of LSE's response to this challenge is a series of online public events that will take place over the Summer Term.

Why not visit the School of Public Policy COVID-19 Resource Centre.

This event in the series has been organised by the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit.

The next event in this series will take place at 2.30pm on 25 June on Religious Communities under COVID-19: the first pandemic of the postsecular age?

Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit (@LSE_CCS) - Understanding conflict and violence in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Bridging the gap between citizens and policymakers.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSECOVID19

Podcast and Video 

A podcast of this event is available to download at The New Authoritarianism: COVID-19 and the challenges facing democracy.

A video of this event is available to watch at The New Authoritarianism: COVID-19 and the challenges facing democracy.

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

Social Media

Follow LSE public events on Twitter for notification on the availability of an event podcast, the posting of transcripts and videos, the announcement of new events and other important event updates. Event updates and other information about what’s happening at LSE can be found on the LSE's Facebook page and for live photos from events and around campus, follow us on Instagram. For live webcasts and archive video of lectures, follow us on YouTube

LSE in Pictures is a selection of images taken by the school photographer.

From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check back on this listing on the day of the event.