European justice in times of the Corona crisis: some preliminary reflections

G.C.M. Knijn, D.A. Lepianka

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


At the time we conducted our research, wrote our chapters and composed this book, the Corona virus and the pandemic it caused was far behind the horizon. Today, ‘old normality’ has disappeared, which allows and even urges for a concluding chapter that reflects on the meaning of justice in Europe in an era, when political, economic, social and cultural relations are undergoing a radical shake-up. What does this immense drama of 50,000 to 100,000 deaths in Europe tell us about justice on the continent? Do the principles of justice that we unraveled in our ETHOS study help us understand how Europe reacts to the needs of nation states and its populations, or are new principles applied? Are the already vulnerable populations sufficiently protected or have they become even more vulnerable? Have new categories of vulnerable populations come to the fore? And are old boundary lines that define the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of justice sustained, or resolved? Are new lines being drawn? In this concluding chapter we cautiously reflect on justice in Europe in the times of the Corona crisis, along the lines of representation, redistribution and recognition. We show that radical transformative politics that challenges structural as well as cultural relations is possible, but its long-term effects are dubious. In the end, in line with result of the ETHOS project, we propose combining the best possible affirmative strategies that are open for ‘second best’ remedies in everyday life with a more thorough analysis of structural injustices that could lead to transformative restructuring of the institutional context.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJustice and Vulnerability in Europe
Subtitle of host publicationAn Interdisciplinary Approach
EditorsTrudie Knijn, Dorota Lepianka
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781839108488
ISBN (Print)9781839108471
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2020


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