The Emerging Practice of Complex Power Sharing

Examining three main schools of conflict resolution — centripetalism, consociational power sharing and power dividing — and contrasting their analysis and recommendations with current policy to resolve self-determination, this chapter argues that there is an emerging practice of what can be referred to as complex power sharing, i.e., a hybrid model of conflict resolution that has a regime of self-governance at its heart, complemented, by a range of other mechanisms advocated by different schools of conflict resolution. This argument is presented in several steps: I first discuss the requirements of institutional design in divided societies and then examine the approaches of the three main schools of conflict resolution to institutional design. This is followed by a conceptual note on the nature of complex power sharing and an empirical analysis of ten cases which can be classified as manifestations of this emerging conflict resolution practice. The chapter concludes with a number of empirical and analytical insights from this comparative analysis that summarise the main features of current complex power sharing regimes, and makes suggestions as to develop the concept itself further into its own conflict resolution theory.

Available for download is the conference paper on which the chapter is based, presented at the Historisches Kolleg in Munich in February 2008.

The edited volume of which the chapter is part can be obtained from the Oldenbourg Verlag.