Political Agency after COVID-19: Representation, Power, Constitutions is an online conference on the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presents and its consequences that are bound to be enormous: Economies may collapse, political leadership will come under extreme pressure and ways of decision-making could be revolutionized. The conference was mediated by the EDDA Research Center and the University of Iceland and was held on 15 May 2020.
Will the coming political upheavals be played out in elite power struggles where political leaders desperately try to retain – or gain – public support? Will the situation have deeper, longer lasting systemic consequences, affecting both national and global governance? One of the most intriguing questions is whether the crisis creates opportunities for increased critical public engagement and possibilities for more participatory and inclusive political agency. Will it make clearer the need for foundational documents – such as constitutions – to be co-written and co-designed? Will the crisis affect dominating values and norms by increasing public appetite for collective social action, such as comprehensive public health policies, and by making individual liberty less central in political rhetoric? These and related questioned were discussed at the conference.