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Conclusion Power-sharing Theory: Lessons from the Complex Power-sharing Project

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Chapter Summary

Power-sharing theory has been closely linked in recent decades with consociational theory. The central idea in consociational theory is that if ethnically, religiously, or linguistically-divided polities are to enjoy political stability, segmental leaders must share power. Consociational theory is also widely criticized. Most criticisms are from an integrationist perspective, which sees identities as malleable rather than resilient, and which is distrustful of power-sharing among segmental elites. Integrationists believe that agreements among segmental elites are likely to be unattainable or unworkable. Agreements that are attained, it is argued, are likely to be counterproductive, as they allocate political resources to elites who have an interest in maintaining division. This chapter discusses the extent to which the Complex Power-sharing Project enhances our understanding of power-sharing theory. It also discusses what consociationalists can learn from the project and what integrationist critics of consociation, including those who support integrative power-sharing, can learn.

Keywords: complex power-sharing project; consociational theory; integrationist perspective; power-sharing theory; segmental elites



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