Planned Impact

The post-conflict divided societies we study in this project are the sites of some of the most intractable conflicts in the world. This necessitates fresh ideas and proposals about building stable state institutions and economies. In producing such insights, this project seeks to make both an academic and practical contribution to the pursuit of peace and post-conflict democracy. In this way, it moves the debate about power-sharing forward, from identifying its problems of exclusion to uncovering inclusive solutions.  

In the realm of scholarship, this research aims to advance knowledge and understanding of the EAI dilemma, both empirical and theoretical. It seeks to confront this persistent challenge to democracy in divided societies identified in the literature and, in so doing, build on and refine power-sharing theory. The conceptual framework we develop can be extended to societies beyond our comparative cases where peace is marred by episodic violence, frozen conflict, and/or active violent conflict between the dominant groups, also affecting the non-dominant groups.

In practical terms, our research works to benefit those making policy and working at community level to resolve the EAI dilemma. The project engages in a two-way exchange of knowledge with those at the heart of the EAI problem, in order to inform the research and, in turn, allow its findings to inform practice.  

We engage in close communication with policymakers, political elites, community activists and NGO representatives at the international, European and domestic levels in the project’s four case studies. Through our research we promote better understanding of the EAI problem amongst these stakeholders and of the potential innovations and reforms that can address such exclusion.  

We believe that the findings we produce can provide tools and resources for policymakers in post-conflict states engaged in institutional design to tackle the EAI problem. They also stand to inform the strategies of non-dominant groups in power-sharing settings for navigating the institutional structures and accessing political channels to best effect.

This research aims to support attempts at constitutional, political and policy reform in deeply divided societies, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Lebanon and Northern Ireland and beyond. It will contribute to the broader goal of securing more just, inclusive democracy in post-conflict societies and more full and sustainable peace.