Resolving Self-determination Conflicts: The Emerging Practice of Complex Power Sharing

Contemporary conflict resolution practice is substantially different from significant parts of traditional conflict resolution theory. Examining three main schools of conflict resolution—integrative and consociational power sharing and power dividing—and contrasting their analysis and recommendations with current policy to resolve self-determination, this paper 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, which is complemented, however, 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 paper 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 make suggestions as to develop the concept itself further into its own conflict resolution theory.