The Philosophical and Legal Concept of State of Emergency: The Dialectic of the State and Society

This study investigates the concept of state of emergency used today in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, be that at the level of everyday life or at the level of press freedoms, or at deeper levels of philosophical, legal, and historical analysis. This concept relates to that of Rechtsstaat (State of Rights), the feasibility of which in "situations of exception" is under debate. The paper reviews the complex relationship between state and society, forms of the social contract between the state and society (or between the government and individuals) and the impact of this contract on the concepts of legitimacy and legality. The study thus addresses a set of interconnected concepts that form a framework to examine paradoxes in the relationship between society and state or between freedom and law.

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Abstract

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This study investigates the concept of state of emergency used today in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, be that at the level of everyday life or at the level of press freedoms, or at deeper levels of philosophical, legal, and historical analysis. This concept relates to that of Rechtsstaat (State of Rights), the feasibility of which in "situations of exception" is under debate. The paper reviews the complex relationship between state and society, forms of the social contract between the state and society (or between the government and individuals) and the impact of this contract on the concepts of legitimacy and legality. The study thus addresses a set of interconnected concepts that form a framework to examine paradoxes in the relationship between society and state or between freedom and law.

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