Ethnic Conflict Resolution as Institutional Design: The Case of the Western Balkans

This article, co-authored with Zoran Ilievski from the University of Skopje, Macedonia, develops a classification of institutions for the regulation of ethnic conflict by focusing on three sets of challenges for institutional design in ethnically divided societies: state construction, the institutions of governments, and the rights and identities of groups and individuals. It examines existing prescriptions in three main schools of ethnic conflict regulation (centripetalism, consociationalism, and power dividing) in light of these institutional design challenges and contextualises them empirically with reference to ethnic conflict regulation practice in the Western Balkans over the past fifteen years. Finding a significant mix of institutions from across the three theories of ethnic conflict regulation, the article proposes to conceptualise this practice as ‘complex power sharing’ and proposes a research agenda to develop and test a more comprehensive theory of complex power sharing.