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date: 05 December 2023

Territorial and Institutional Settlements in the Global South and Beyondlocked

Territorial and Institutional Settlements in the Global South and Beyondlocked

  • Allison McCullochAllison McCullochBrandon University
  •  and Eduardo Wassim AboultaifEduardo Wassim AboultaifHoly Spirit University of Kaslik


Territorial and institutional settlements—from federalism and regional autonomy to consociationalism, centripetalism, and other forms of power-sharing—represent leading strategies by which to end protracted ethnicized conflicts. Yet there remains considerable debate as to the long-term merits of such approaches. Does consociationalism entrench divisions and immobilize government decision-making? Is federalism merely a precursor to secession? Or are territorial and institutional settlements the best prospect by which to deliver peace, democracy, and stability to deeply divided societies? The debate remains unsettled.

Two main iterations of the debate regarding institutional design choices in divided societies in the Global South can be identified: one—accommodation versus integration—tends to present the options in zero-sum terms. In these earlier stages of the debate, consociationalism and centripetalism are frequently cast as opposing and irreconcilable forms of government in deeply divided societies (e.g., consociationalism versus centripetalism). Later scholarship tracks a different approach. In the second iteration—what can be labeled the turn to hybridity—scholars have shifted toward emphasizing their compatibility (e.g., consociationalism and centripetalism) or charting a path between them (consociationalism, then centripetalism).

Beyond scholarly debates, institutional and territorial settlements in the Global South, including from across Latin and South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, exhibit a wide variety of forms and manifestations, some of which support accommodation while others tend toward integration.


  • Conflict Studies

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