A Turning Point, Securitization, and Policing in the Context of Covid-19: Building a New Social Contract Between State and Nation?

Clifford Stott, Owen West, Mark Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


While the biological threat posed by Covid is of course a primary focus of analysis, what is often less salient are considerations of the security implications of the global epidemiology. At this particular stage, the highly contagious status of the virus has created an unprecedented global response as governments internationally have attempted to curtail its spread. As a result, a primary driver of political responses has been the emerging and evolving context of international norms that have pushed nation states in the direction of highly securitized measures, involving new laws allowing for draconian constraints of basic democratic freedoms and increased powers of police enforcement. One of the most recent examples of this has been in Hungary, with the Government of Viktor Orban securing an open-ended extension of state of emergency powers that will allow his right-wing nationalist and authoritarian administration to bypass parliament. In other countries, conflicts have emerged as police seek to enforce ‘social distancing’ measures upon communities who have been systematically disadvantaged by them. Given the measures taken by governments to control disease often produce outcomes that can threaten the very basis of functional democracy. In this commentary, we provide a brief analysis of some of the security implications of Covid-19.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)574-578
JournalPolicing: A Journal of Policy and Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2020


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