Structural Shockwaves: Consecutive Crises and Professional Mobility Among Judges and Prosecutors

It is almost clichéd to speak of a Europe of crises, in which endless onslaughts (financial, migration, secession, plague) push the continent ever closer to collapse. But why should successive shocks be additive? Can the first shock dampen the second? By empirically investigating the professional mobility of judges and prosecutors in Romania over two consecutive crises – the 2017-2019 judicial reforms, and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic – this article shows that a first shock can make a social structure more structurally robust to subsequent blows, while contextually amplifying the effects of secondary shocks. Methodologically, this article introduces the open-source Romanian Judicial Professions (1978-2020) database. Theoretically, it contributes to the study of consecutive crises by proposing a new concept, “structural shockwaves,” and uncovering two emergent phenomena associated with sequential structural shockwaves – undertow and rip-currents.
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