ESRC Project: Exclusion amid Inclusion
Exclusion amid Inclusion: Power-Sharing and Non-Dominant Minorities
In the search for democratic solutions to global conflicts over the last two decades, one model of post-conflict governance has prevailed. Power-sharing, which entails the representation and participation of major societal groups in the process of governing, has facilitated war-to-peace transition in some of the world's most deeply divided places, from Burundi to Lebanon, Kosovo, Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iraq. Yet, while power-sharing has been heralded as a democratic and inclusive approach to managing ethnic difference, it faces a significant trade-off. For the system to stabilise and pacify divided societies, it must marginalise those actors who were not directly involved in the conflict. By making inclusion of the dominant groups in society central to democratic governance, power-sharing excludes other groups who align with alternative identities.
This Economic and Social Research Council project addresses this inherent dilemma in power-sharing of exclusion amid inclusion (EAI). The three year project at Queen’s University Belfast, investigates the institutional bias in power-sharing systems in favour of large groups over “non-dominant minorities” who are not explicitly included in the settlement, such as non-ethnic collectives, women and migrant communities. This project seeks solutions to this democratic deficit in post-conflict societies. It aims to identify how power-sharing arrangements can be designed to account for the EAI problem and to offer viable recommendations towards its resolution.
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