Does Consociationalism solve conflicts Essay

Submitted By thomaswootton
Words: 1741
Pages: 7

Does Consociationalism solve conflicts?

Introduction:

What is consociationalism?
Assess this questions theoretically and empirically.
Applied to;
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lebanon and Northern Ireland.

Doesn’t solve conflict:

Freezes identity/divisions by focusing on ethnic divisions.

Is a bleak view of humanity;
It freezes groups (doesn’t encourage a common civic identity)
Assumes ethno-national identities are pre-given and biologically determined;
Rather than being inherently constructed that can change.
Ensures and increases divisions;
Ensure group hostilities remain
Accommodates difference rather than trying to overcome it.
It reinforces psychological and in some cases physical senses of separateness from other groups.
Integrationists argue;
Instead of government categorizations, it is better to unfreeze ethnic identities in favour of a common identity
Failure to do so can reignite the conflict, as it is managed and not solved.

Examples;
Northern Ireland;
Taylor argues the GFA “reinforces sectarian division”
Commitment to consociationalism postpones the idea when people don’t have to be either orange or green, Protestant or Catholic etc.
McCann 2013:
GFA institutionalises and formalizes the sectarian divisions which gave rise to the violence in the first place.
Designation for elected politicians;
Register as nationalist, unionist or other.
Designation system ‘entrench communalist politics’ Wilford & Wilson
Farry argues these designations imply society will be forever divided.
These rules don’t create incentives for them to change their behaviour (McGarry and O’Leary)
Lebanon;
Unlike Northern Ireland, have corporate consociations.
They oblige citizens to vote only within their own ethnic community for their own ethnic parties.
Lebanese electoral law has specified that successful candidates from certain constituencies must come from particular communities.
(corporate consociations create institutional obstacles to the removal of protected identities)
Tonge;
Ta’if promised to end sectarianism, but what it did was set it up.
As Lebanese parliament set up on religious standing.
Christians, Shi’ites and Sunnis were not to be reconciled, differences were to be contained not overcome.
Very naïve document as it institutes what it says its going to abolish.
Consociation on religious terms.
Bosnia;
Dayton over-institutionalised ethnicity.
Left very little room for the emergence of non-ethnic politics.
All levels of government require positions to be filled by members of the 3 constituent groups
Delegating all political positions in ethnic terms, has resulted in the continuation of ethnic politics..
Tonge;
Not easy to deny that this rigid consociationalism enshrines ethnic divisions and instituionalises ethnicity.

Doesn’t erode differences (as some claim);

Consociationalists are vague over the precise means and timetable for reintegration.
Is vague over how and when ethnically-fuelled parties begin to dismantle the communalism with a ‘unity-of- people’ outlook.
Main logic; building trust at elite level by acting in a non-sectarian manner, that their communities will follow.
Growing confidence and peace will improve relations and fence removal will happen organically.
Criticism;
Seems logical but, critics argue it is wishful and unproven in countries with strong divisions.
Consociationalists hopes not fulfilled;
As ethnic communities feel more secure, their ethnic solidarity will diminish and dilute and the need to stress oppositional identities will erode.
This process has not yet happen. (Tonge)

Providing weak and undemocratic government;

Parties are guaranteed a place in government in proportion to their strength.
There is no willingness to compromise.
Little incentive to cooperate; conflict wont be resolved.
Consociation may lead to political blackmail, cold peace and stagnation through the use of vetoes.
Leads to ethnic deadlock..

Inability to contribute to long term peace building;

Horowtitz;
Consociational practices…