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DECENTRALIZATION   Tags: decentralization  

Last Updated: Aug 25, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Policy Papers & Briefs



Ganguly, Rajat. Autonomy and Ethnic Conflict in South and South-East Asia. Routledge, 2013. [Google Books] [Book Launch]

About: This book uses empirical evidence from various case studies to examine the relationship between territorial and regional autonomy, the nation-state and ethnic conflict resolution in South and South-East Asia. The concept of territorial or regional autonomy holds centre stage in the literature on ethnic conflict settlement because it is supposed to be able to reconcile two paradoxical objectives: the preservation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state, and the satisfaction of ethnic minorities' right to national self-determination.

Ripsman, Norrin M. Peacemaking by Democracies: The Effect of State Autonomy on the Post-World War Settlements. Penn State University Press, 2002. [Google Books]

About: Analysts of domestic politics in democratic countries have long argued that differences in the structures, procedures, and norms affecting the way democratic governments operate influence which policies executives choose and the degree of autonomy they have in choosing them in the face of popular and legislative opposition. However, when theorists explain how democracies conduct foreign policy, they tend to ignore or downplay differences and assume that democratic governments all behave similarly.

Weller, Marc and Katherine Nobbs. Asymmetric Autonomy and the Settlement of Ethnic Conflicts. Penn State University, 2010 [Google Books]

About: This book assesses the ability of such power distribution arrangements to resolve violent struggles between central governments and separatist groups. This collection of new case studies from around the world covers a host of important developments, from recentralization in Russia, to "one country, two systems" in China, to constitutional innovation in Iraq.


Research Papers

Braathen, Einar and Sirin Bjerkreim Hellevik. "Decentralisation, Peace Making and Conflict Management: From Regionalism to Municipalism," Journal of Peace, Conflict and Development  12 (2008).

Summary: This paper discusses the role of decentralisation in peace making and conflict management processes. The authors argue that decentralisation as devolution plays an ambiguous role in such processes. In some cases, decentralisation may provide opportunities for peace and conflict management due to being an instrument of power sharing, while in other cases such sharing of power may ignite further conflict. 
Braathen, Einar and Sirin Bjerkreim Hellevik. "The Role of Decentralisation in Peace Making and Conflict Management Processes: a Literature Review," Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research Working Paper 125 (2006).

Summary: This paper is a literature review of the role that decentralisation may play in peace making and conflict management processes. Having reviewed the literature, we argue that interdependency between central and local levels of government is needed in order for decentralisation to lead to peace making and conflict management.

Kauzya, John-Mary. “Decentralization: Prospects for Peace, Democracy and Development,” DPADM Discussion Paper (2005).

Summary: This paper interrogates the basic assumptions about decentralization, and in particular, the assumption that decentralization is a vehicle for peace, democracy, and sustainable development. The paper starts by clarifying the concept of decentralization and by discussing the potential for creating a sustainable equilibrium between centralizing and decentralizing forces. The various modes of decentralization are highlighted and its linkages with development, democratic participation and peace are discussed. A recurring question, however, concerns whether decentralization promotes peace. This question calls for not only debate but further research as well. The issue of peace is critical especially since the world seems to continuously traverse periods of severe violent conflicts including terrorism.

Lake, David A., and Donald Rothchild. “Territorial Decentralization and Civil War Settlements,” UCSD and UC Davis (2001).

Summary:  Political decentralization along territorial lines is emerging as a key element in contemporary civil war settlements. In Bosnia, the Dayton Agreement rests on a new federal structure to build the peace. In Kosovo, the Western powers used force against Serbia ostensibly to restore regional autonomy for the ethnic Albanians. In the Philippines, state leaders experimented with territorial autonomy. And in Ethiopia, the Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front established an ethnically-based federal structure. 



Debate: Iraq Kurdistan Presidency. Iran: Press TV, 2013.

About: Press TV interviews Ali al-Nashmi, a political analyst from Baghdad and Othman Ali, a political analyst from Arbil, northern Iraq, on the tensions that are likely to increase between Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region and the central government. 

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