Saturday 9 April 2022

MPSA Conference 2022: Emergency Governance in Hungary and the COVID-19

We live in an era of overlapping states of exceptions: the climate and ecological emergency, the permanent crisis of global capitalism, the migration crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic. Relying on the Hungarian political system, this paper investigates how and why exceptional measures restructure our life. Against the background of the current Hungarian authoritarian populist regime, municipal experiences, and other contemporary tendencies, three main forms of states of exceptions are investigated: (1) the exceptionality of the migration crisis of 2015; (2) the climate emergencies declared by local governments, which are rather political declarations and not legally accepted versions of exceptional measures; (3) the overlapping forms of COVID-19-related emergencies. It can be argued that the main outcome of the exceptional measures is the rise of a new executive power, and it is demonstrated how heavily authoritarian regimes rely on the state of exception. Amplifying the authoritarian tendencies and the abusive application of the exceptional legal order, the COVID-19 crisis basically proved that it is worth considering institutionalizing the climate and ecological emergency as a tool in the struggle of resolving the planetary crisis of our time.

This lecture is a part of my research project "The State of Emergency in the Era of Global Ecological and Pandemic Crisis" (financed by National Research, Development and Innovation Office Postdoctoral Excellence Programme of Hungary, ID-number: 139007, hosting institution: ELTE Faculty of Law). More details on this project: