Territorial approaches to ethnic conflict settlement

Authored by: John McGarry , Brendan O’Leary

Routledge Handbook of Ethnic Conflict

Print publication date:  October  2010
Online publication date:  October  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415476256
eBook ISBN: 9780203845493
Adobe ISBN: 9781136927577


 Download Chapter



Governments that seek to accommodate mobilised national, ethnic, linguistic or religious communities have a range of institutional strategies at their disposal if they do not wish to permit secession. 1 They may promote consociation, which accommodates plural communities through power sharing, or centripetalism, which incentivises majority politicians to take minority preferences into account. They may promote group-based self-government, sometimes termed corporate or cultural autonomy. They may also seek accommodation through territorially based autonomy, that may be described as ‘territorial pluralism’ (McGarry et al. 2008; O’Leary and McGarry 2010). The latter entails four distinct institutional arrangements: pluralist federation, decentralisation within a union or unitary state, federacy, and cross-border territorial arrangements, the last of which can be combined with any of the first three. Territorial pluralism assists geographically concentrated national, ethnic, linguistic, or religious communities. It is not relevant for small, dispersed communities, including immigrant communities, for whom self-government is infeasible or undesirable. Territorial pluralism should be distinguished not just from group-based (non-territorial) autonomy, but also from territorial self-government based on ‘administrative’, or ‘geographic’ criteria, including regional components of the state’s majority community. 2

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.