The Institutional Structure of Regional Consociations

Published in Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, vol. 10, no. 3, 2004, this article examines regional consociations as institutional designs that combine two elements of traditional conflict resolution approaches: territorial autonomy and consociational power-sharing. From a conflict resolution perspective there are three particularly interesting dimensions, namely the factors in relation to structure and agency that make it possible for a regional consociation to be established; their institutional design; and the conditions that are conducive to their stability. My primary interest in this paper is in the institutional design of regional consociations, but I also make some observations on their origin and touch upon stability conditions in a comparative institutional study of South Tyrol, Northern Ireland and Brussels.