1st Edition

Federalism as a Tool of Conflict Resolution

Edited By Soeren Keil, Elisabeth Alber Copyright 2021
    114 Pages
    by Routledge

    114 Pages
    by Routledge

    Looking at the growing use of federalism and decentralization as tools of conflict resolution, this book provides evidence from several case studies on the opportunities and challenges that territorial solutions offer when addressing internal conflicts within a variety of countries.

    Federalism has been used as a tool of conflict resolution in a number of conflict situations around the world. The results of this have been mixed at best, with some countries moving slowly to the paths of peace and recovery, while others have returned to violence. This volume looks at a number of case studies in which federalism and decentralization have been promoted in order to bring opposing groups together and protect the territorial integrity of different countries. Yet, it is demonstrated that this has been incredibly difficult, and often overshadowed by wider concerns on secession, de and re-centralization and geopolitics and geoeconomics. While federalism and decentralization might hold the key to keeping war-torn countries together and bringing hostile groups to the negotiation table, we nevertheless need to rethink under which conditions territorial autonomy can help to transform conflict and when it might contribute to an increase in conflict and violence. Federalism alone, so the key message from all contributions, cannot be enough to bring peace – yet, without territorial solutions to ongoing violence, it is also unlikely that peace will be achieved.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Ethnopolitics.

    Introduction: Federalism as a Tool of Conflict Resolution

    Soeren Keil and Elisabeth Alber

    1. Decentralisation at a Crossroads: Spain, Catalonia and the Territorial Crisis

    Paul Anderson

    2. Federalism, National Identity and Overcoming Frozen Conflicts: Moldova’s Experience

    Johann Wolfschwenger and Kirsten Saxinger

    3. The Elephant in the Room: Ukraine between Decentralization and Conflict

    Francesco Palermo

    4. A Failure of State Transformation Rather than a Failure of Federalism? The Case of Iraq

    Eva Maria Belser

    5. Bougainville Moving Towards Independence? The Role of Autonomy for Conflict Resolution in Past and Present

    Karl Kössler

    6. What is Wrong with the Concept of Multinational Federalism? Some Thoughts about the Interrelationship between the Concepts of (Multi-)nationalism, Federalism, Power Sharing and Conflict Resolution

    Josef Marko


    Soeren Keil is Reader and Subject Lead in Politics and International Relations at Canterbury Christ Church University in the UK.

    Elisabeth Alber is Senior Researcher and Program Head (Eurac Research Federal Scholar in Residence) at the Institute for Comparative Federalism at Eurac Research in Bolzano/Bozen, Italy.