As in February-March 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic appeared in Europe as well schools, universities were shut down, white collar workplaces switched to home office and also political action should be changed according to the requirements of social distancing. Most of the communication between teachers and students, colleagues, citizens and politicians went online. Social movement activists and community organizers found new ways of expressing discontent: car marches, socially distanced protests, shoe demonstrations. Confinement, alienation could be experienced in Europe from Lisbon to Budapest. Our volume, the ‘Political, social, and economic consequences of digitalization during the COVID-19 pandemic’ wishes to understand primarily the political, but also the social and economic consequences of the sudden digitalization during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in the European Union. Beyond politics, the volume also focuses on individual freedom and teleworking, but we also aim to give a liberal answer to the challenges of digitalization. Nevertheless companies and individuals donated computers, laptops, tablets, web cameras for students, teachers and schools for the successful transition to online education. Cultural institutions, like theaters and music bands started to hold online performances and concerts. In the emergency situation companies which were not prepared should also reorganize and pursue online their daily activities. All these developments amplified the digitalization of social communication.
This publication wishes to assess the political, social, cultural and economic consequences of digitalization during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also focuses on EU level policy solutions which were introduced to ease related conflicts and problems. Nevertheless, even during an emergency situation the liberal principles of the EU should not be abandoned. The chapters of the volume have been selected according to the above mentioned goals. Carmen Descamps' chapter looks into the changing circumstances of working, how people can collaborate across boarders, how they can profit from the adaptation to the lockdown by being a digital nomad. Marco Mariani contradicts the COVID related lockdown and health security measures and individual freedom from a classical liberal perspective. Márton Schalnger analyzes the interrelation of the pandemic and employment in the Hungarian context. In his contribution he emphasizes how the pandemic promoted the tendency of remote working. Finally, in his chapter, Ricardi Silvestre scrutinizes the effect on lockdown measures on European mobility and the various digital solutions, which were developed during the COVID pandemic. Nevertheless, he also highlights the dangers and threats of these applications on privacy and summirizes the consequences of lockdown on European freedoms.
The whole publication is available HERE.