`Exclusion amid Inclusion: Power-Sharing and Non-Dominant Minorities

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Presentation of Summary & Findings (Lebanon) of the project funded by the ESRC and hosted by the Queen's University Belfast

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The tension within power-sharing has been ever present in both scholarly debate and real world application: For power-sharing to create stability and pacify the divided groups, it must marginalise those actors who were not directly involved in conflict, who we refer to as non-dominant groups. The democratic shortcomings of consociational power-sharing have been the source of vehement debate since the model was first conceptualised by Arend Lijphart in 1969. We refer to this institutional bias in favour of large groups as the "exclusion amid inclusion" (EAI) dilemma.

More recently, the EAI problem has formed a core impetus for theoretical refinements to consociational theory, including the distinction between corporate and liberal power-sharing (McCulloch, 2014; McGarry & O’Leary 2006; 2009, 2007; Nagle, 2011; Wolff, 2010). In practice, the EAI dilemma has been brought into sharp focus by a number of constitutional crises and controversies in power-sharing states. Most notably, in 2009 the European Court of Human Rights so-called ‘Sejdic-Finci ruling’ and the reform of the petition of concern mechanism in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

While the EAI dilemma continues to plague power-sharing in theory and practice, our project has identified ways which would facilitate greater inclusion. As a model of post-conflict democracy, power-sharing has proven highly effective in securing peace and stability in places riven by conflict. The system has much to offer and when refined can significantly improve in ways that address the EAI problem.

Presented by: Principal Investigator: Dr Timofey Agarin (Queen’s University Belfast), Co-Investigator: Dr Allison McCulloch (Brandon University), Research Fellow: Dr Drew Mikhael (Queen’s University Belfast)

The format for the event will include:

13.00 – Introduction & Welcome -

13.05 – Methodology of Study and Overview of the Project

13.15 – Reforming Political Institutions

13.30 – Engaging Societal Actors

14.00 – Preparing for Reform Moments

14.15 – Discussant: Maya Gebeily (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

14.35 – Questions and Answers

You can read more about the project here

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