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Power-Sharing in Conflict-Ridden Societies

Challenges for Building Peace and Democratic Stability

edited by: Nils A. Butenschøn, Øyvind Stiansen, Kåre Vollan
published by
: Ashgate
pp: 374
ISBN: 9781472467867
price: £ 75.00

Book's frontpage

Based on a unique comparative study of Burundi, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nepal, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Fiji this book analyses the formal and informal arrangements defining the post-conflict political order in these countries and evaluates whether these systems strengthened or weakened the chances of establishing sustainable peace and lasting democracy.

What can be learned from these cases? Each country has it unique history but they are faced with comparable challenges and dilemmas in building a democratic future. Which solutions seem to contribute to democratic stability and which do not? These questions are discussed in light of theoretical literature, case studies, and field interviews with the authors concluding that systems based on proportional representation offered the best prospects for including diverse and conflicting identities and building unified political systems. The book is of particular interest to students of democracy and peace-building; academics as well as decision-makers and practitioners in the field.


Table of contents

Democratic peace and institutional design. Some theoretical perspectives
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Myanmar (Burma)
The Philippines
Power-sharing - conclusions and recommendations

About the Author

Nils A. Butenschøn is Professor of political science and previously Director at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo. His publications are mostly within the field of nationality conflicts, democratic theory, and state formations with an empirical focus on the Middle East.

Øyvind Stiansen has worked as Research Assistant on the Project. He holds a Master's degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Oslo and is currently a PhD student at the Department of Political Science, University of Oslo.

Kåre Vollan is Director and owner of the company Quality AS. He has been advising on elections in more than thirty countries and has published a number of articles and reports on electoral and post-conflict issues.


‘An impressively thorough assessment of various institutional power-sharing mechanisms that have been used in post-conflict societies (e.g. devolution and federalism, systems of representation, form of government, etc.), based on nine country case studies. The authors demonstrate differential impacts of power-sharing mechanisms on the goals of peace, stability and democracy. An important contribution on a vexing set of problems.’
David J. Carroll, Director, Democracy Program, The Carter Center, Atlanta, USA


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