Félix Krawatzek: “The pressure on liberal commitments is going to be accelerated”

Félix Krawatzek studies political involvement and views of young people across Eastern Europe. Another focus of his research is on the politics of history across Europe.

What impact does the pandemic currently have on your work?

There is enough time to get emails and small short-term writing/media requests done, but not enough for large writing projects, which is after all what matters most in research. It is also impossible to realise face-to-face research in the foreseeable future in most countries of the region. This severely limits the type of data one can use and by implication our understanding of developments across the region.

How has Covid-19 influenced your research topic / the objective of your research?

There is a need to think about the political and social implications of Covid-19. From my perspective it is particularly interesting, how that impact differs along generational lines. At the same time, it is important to step back from Covid-19 itself and not try to explain every current development through the lens of the pandemic. Likewise, it is central to integrate our theoretical knowledge to gain a more analytical perspective on the political or social implications of Covid-19.

In your view, what are the most important long-term effects of Covid-19 in your region?

The economic consequences are potentially devastating, which in turn has profound implications for the kind of politics that are going to be demanded. The pressure under which liberal commitments have come in Central and Eastern Europe is then only going to be accelerated with Covid-19 and the opportunities it offers for governments to exercise control and restrict freedoms.

Looking at the social sciences, how will the experience of the pandemic change how research is done in general?

It’s too early to predict as it depends on how long it will take to find a vaccine. If a vaccine is available in 12 months, I guess things will return to the previous normal quite quickly, maybe with an increased attention for questions related to social class and risk.