CONSOCIATIONALISM (/kənˌsoʊʃiˈeɪʃənəlɪzəm/ _kən-SOH-shee-AY-shən-əl-iz-əm_ ) is often viewed as synonymous with POWER-SHARING, although it is technically only one form of power-sharing.
Consociationalism is often seen as having close affinities with corporatism ; some consider it to be a form of corporatism while others claim that economic corporatism was designed to regulate class conflict , while consociationalism developed on the basis of reconciling societal fragmentation along ethnic and religious lines.
The goals of consociationalism are governmental stability, the
survival of the power-sharing arrangements, the survival of democracy
, and the avoidance of violence . When consociationalism is organised
along religious confessional lines, it is known as confessionalism ,
as is the case in
* 1 Definition * 2 Concept origins * 3 Characteristics * 4 Favourable conditions * 5 Advantages
* 6 Criticisms
* 6.1 Brian Barry * 6.2 Rinus van Schendelen * 6.3 Lustick on hegemonic control * 6.4 Other criticisms
* 7 Examples * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 Further reading
Political scientists define a consociational state as a state which has major internal divisions along ethnic, religious, or linguistic lines, with none of the divisions large enough to form a majority group, yet nonetheless manages to remain stable, due to consultation among the elites of each of its major social groups. Consociational states are often contrasted with states with majoritarian electoral systems .
Consociationalism was discussed in academic terms by the political
Arend Lijphart . However, Lijphart has stated that he had
"merely discovered what political practitioners had repeatedly – and
independently of both academic experts and one another – invented
John McGarry and Brendan O\'Leary trace
consociationalism back to 1917, when it was first employed in the
Indeed, Lijphart draws heavily on the experience of the Netherlands
in developing his argument in favour of the consociational approach to
ethnic conflict regulation. The Netherlands, as a consociational
state, was between 1857 and 1967 divided into four non-territorial
Lijphart identifies four key characteristics of consociational democracies:
Grand coalition Elites of each pillar come together to rule in the interests of society because they recognize the dangers of non-cooperation.
Mutual veto Consensus among the groups is required to confirm the majority rule. Mutuality means that the minority is unlikely to successfully block the majority. If one group blocks another on some matter, the latter are likely to block the former in return.
Proportionality Representation is based on population. If one pillar accounts for 30% of the overall society, then they occupy 30% of the positions on the police force, in civil service, and in other national and civic segments of society.
Segmental autonomy Creates a sense of individuality and allows for different culturally-based community laws.
Consociational policies often have these characteristics:
* Coalition cabinets , where executive power is shared between parties, not concentrated in one. Many of these cabinets are oversized, meaning they include parties not necessary for a parliamentary majority; * Balance of power between executive and legislative ; * Decentralized and federal government, where (regional) minorities have considerable independence; * Incongruent bicameralism , where it is very difficult for one party to gain a majority in both houses. Normally one chamber represents regional interests and the other national interests ; * Proportional representation , to allow (small) minorities to gain representation too; * Organized and corporatist interest groups, which represent minorities ; * A rigid constitution , which prevents government from changing the constitution without consent of minorities; * Judicial review , which allows minorities to go to the courts to seek redress against laws that they see as unjust; * Elements of direct democracy , which allow minorities to enact or prevent legislation; * Proportional employment in the public sector; * A neutral head of state , either a monarch with only ceremonial duties, or an indirectly elected president, who gives up his or her party affiliation after being elected; * Referendums are only used to allow minorities to block legislation: this means that they must be a citizen\'s initiative and that there is no compulsory voting. * Equality between ministers in cabinet, the prime minister is only _primus inter pares _; * An independent central bank , where experts and not politicians set out monetary policies.
Lijphart also identifies a number of "favourable conditions" under which consociationalism is likely to be successful. He has changed the specification of these conditions somewhat over time. Michael Kerr summarises Lijphart's most prominent favourable factors as:
* Segmental isolation of ethnic communities * A multiple balance of power * The presence of external threats common to all communities * Overarching loyalties to the state * A tradition of elite accommodation * Socioeconomic equality * A small population size, reducing the policy load * A moderate multi-party system with segmental parties
Lijphart stresses that these conditions are neither indispensable nor sufficient to account for the success of consociationalism. This has led Rinus van Schendelen to conclude that "the conditions may be present and absent, necessary and unnecessary, in short conditions or no conditions at all".
John McGarry and Brendan O\'Leary argue that three conditions are key
to the establishment of democratic consociational power-sharing:
elites have to be motivated to engage in conflict regulation; elites
must lead deferential segments; and there must be a multiple balance
of power, but more importantly the subcultures must be stable.
Michael Kerr, in his study of the role of external actors in
power-sharing arrangements in
In a consociational state, all groups, including minorities, are represented on the political and economic stage. Supporters of consociationalism argue that it is a more realistic option in deeply divided societies than integrationist approaches to conflict management . It has been credited with supporting successful and non-violent transitions to democracy in countries such as South Africa .
Brian Barry has questioned the nature of the divisions that exist in
the countries that Lijphart considers to be "classic cases" of
consociational democracies. For example, he makes the case that in the
Swiss example, "political parties cross-cut cleavages in the society
and provide a picture of remarkable consensus rather than highly
structured conflict of goals". In the case of the Netherlands, he
argues that "the whole cause of the disagreement was the feeling of
some Dutchman ... that it mattered what all the inhabitants of the
country believed. Demands for policies aimed at producing religious or
secular uniformity presuppose a concern ... for the state of grace of
one's fellow citizens". He contrasts this to the case of a society
marked by conflict, in this case
RINUS VAN SCHENDELEN
Rinus van Schendelen has argued that Lijphart uses evidence
Pillarisation was "seriously weakening", even in the
1950s, cross-denominational co-operation was increasing, and formerly
coherent political sub-cultures were dissolving. He argued that elites
LUSTICK ON HEGEMONIC CONTROL
Ian Lustick has argued that academics lack an alternative "control" approach for explaining stability in deeply divided societies and that this has resulted in the empirical overextension of consociational models. Lustick argues that Lijphart has "an impressionistic methodological posture, flexible rules for coding data, and an indefatigable, rhetorically seductive commitment to promoting consociationalism as a widely applicable principle of political engineering", that results in him applying consociational theory to case studies that it does not fit. Furthermore, Lustick states that "Lijphart's definition of 'accommodation' ... includes the elaborately specified claim that issues dividing polarized blocs are settled by leaders convinced of the need for settlement".
Critics point out that consociationalism is dangerous in a system of
differing antagonistic ideologies , generally conservatism and
communism . They state that specific conditions must exist for three
or more groups to develop a multi- system with strong leaders. This
philosophy is dominated by elites, with those masses that are
sidelined with the elites having less to lose if war breaks out.
Consociationalism cannot be imperially applied. For example, it does
not effectively apply to
Consociationalism focuses on diverging identities such as ethnicity instead of integrating identities such as class, institutionalizing and entrenching the former. Furthermore, it relies on rival co-operation, which is inherently unstable. It focuses on intrastate relations and neglects relations with other states. Donald L. Horowitz argues that consociationalism can lead to the reification of ethnic divisions, since "grand coalitions are unlikely, because of the dynamics of intraethnic competition. The very act of forming a multiethnic coalition generates intraethnic competition – flanking – if it does not already exist". Consistent with Horowitz' claims, Dawn Brancati finds that federalism/territorial autonomy, an element of consociationalism, strengthens ethnic divisions if it is designed in a way that strengthens regional parties, which in turn encourage ethnic conflict.
Consociationalism assumes that each group is cohesive and has strong leadership. Although the minority can block decisions, this requires 100 per cent agreement. Rights are given to communities rather than individuals, leading to over-representation of some individuals in society and under-representation of others. Grand coalitions are unlikely to happen due to the dynamics of ethnic competition. Each group seeks more power for itself. Consociationalists are criticized for focusing too much on the set up of institutions and not enough on transitional issues which go beyond such institutions. Finally, it is claimed that consociational institutions promote sectarianism and entrench existing identities.
The political systems of a number of countries operate on a
consociational basis, including
Additionally, a number of peace agreements are consociational, including:
Dayton Agreement that ended the 1992–1995 war in Bosnia and
Herzegovina , which is described as a "classic example of
consociational settlement" by
Sumantra Bose and "an ideal-typical
consociational democracy" by Roberto Belloni.
Belfast Agreement of 1998 in
In addition to the two-state solution , some have argued for a
one-state solution under a consociational democracy in the state of
During the 1980s the South African government attempted to reform
apartheid into a consociational democracy. The South African
* ^ O'Leary, Brendan (2005). "Debating consociational politics:
Normative and explanatory arguments". In Noel, Sid JR. _From Power
Sharing to Democracy: Post-Conflict Institutions in Ethnically Divided
Societies_. Montreal: McGill-Queen's Press. pp. 3–43. ISBN
* ^ Anke Hassel. _Wage setting, Social Pacts and the Euro: A New
Role for the State_. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Amsterdam University
Press, 2006. p. 281.
* ^ Lijphart, Arend (2004). "Constitutional design for divided
societies" (PDF). _Journal of
* ^ _A_ _B_ Barry, Brian (1975). "Political accommodation and
consociational democracy". _British Journal of Political Science_. 5
JSTOR 193439 . doi :10.1017/S0007123400008322 .
* ^ Barry, Brian (1975). "The consociational model and its
dangers". _European Journal of Political Research_. 3 (4): 393–412.
doi :10.1111/j.1475-6765.1975.tb01253.x .
* ^ Lustick, Ian (1979). "Stability in deeply divided societies:
Consociationalism versus control". _World Politics_. 31 (3): 325–44.
JSTOR 2009992 . doi :10.2307/2009992 .
* ^ _A_ _B_ Lustick, Ian (1997). "Lijphart, Lakatos, and
consociationalism". _World Politics_. 50 (1): 88–117.
. doi :10.1017/S0043887100014738 .
* ^ Horowitz, Donald (1985). _Ethnic Groups in Conflict_. Berkeley,
CA: University of California Press. p. 575. ISBN 0-520-22706-9 .
* ^ Dawn Brancati, _Peace by Design: Managing Intrastate Conflict
through Decentralization_, Oxford University Press, 2009,
* ^ Wolff, Stefan (2004). _Disputed Territories: The Transnational
Dynamics of Ethnic Conflict Settlement_. Berghahn Books. pp. 30–31.
* ^ Wippman, David (1998). "Practical and Legal Constraints on
Internal Power Sharing". In Wippman, David. _International Law and
Ethnic Conflict_. Cornell University Press. p. 220.
* ^ Bahcheli, Tozun; Noel, Sid (2005). "Power Sharing for Cyprus
* ^ Gabel, Matthew J. (1998). "The endurance of supranational
governance: A consociational interpretation of the European Union".
_Comparative Politics_. 30 (4): 463–75.
JSTOR 422334 . doi
* ^ Bogaards, Matthijs; Crepaz, Markus M.L. (2002). "Consociational
interpretations of the European Union". _
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