Federal Studies

Perspectives on Comparative Federalism

Perspectives on Comparative Federalism

Abstract

The number of countries embracing federalism is rocketing and research on federalism is booming. Federal studies are eventually abandoning the vain search for definitional clarity, and increasingly look at the potential of federalism to provide solutions to some of the most pressing challenges to contemporary constitutionalism. Federalism is indeed the oldest institutional mechanism to regulate pluralism, and has therefore a lot to offer in solving contemporary challenges originating from the quest for more pluralism, both institutional and societal.

Continue reading →

Posted by Francesco Palermo in Theory, 0 comments
Gender Equality and Federalism

Gender Equality and Federalism

Abstract

Gender scholars argue that a federal model of governance can provide opportunities to advance gender equality and the rights of women. Those opportunities include increased opportunities to sit in public office, multiple access points for women to lobby for reform measures, encouraging policy transfer between different regions of a country, protecting women from violence by responding more effectively to ethnic diversity and conflict through the provision of autonomy, self-rule and self-determination, and enabling local concerns including the different interests of women to be better represented. In some situations, however, gender scholars argue a federal model of governance makes it difficult to achieve uniformity of laws, programs and services that benefit women, it fragments the solidarity of the women’s movements, and that it is costly and complicated to navigate making gender reform measures more difficult to implement.

Continue reading →

Posted by Christine Forster in Policies, 0 comments
Multiple Territorial Identities and Social Cohesion

Multiple Territorial Identities and Social Cohesion

Abstract

Multiple territorial identities reflect the sedimentation of shared loyalties and political aspirations through the various levels of government. The ‘Moreno question’ was set according to a scale of five categories, which provide data on levels of identity belonging, intensity and sharing in contexts of political duality. After briefly discussing the ‘Moreno question’, this contribution analyses the implications of sub-state identity polarization concerning secession in the case of Catalonia and Spain. It concludes by noting that social cohesion is regarded as a desirable aim to be achieved depending not only on the politics of recognition but also on government institutions as facilitators of social trust.

Continue reading →

Posted by Luis Moreno in Theory, 0 comments
A Federation like no other: The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina

A Federation like no other: The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Abstract

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a complex state composed of two entities: the Federation of BiH and Republika Srpska, and one independent unit – Brčko District, as well as three constituent peoples: Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs. The Constitution does not mention the word federation, thus it is not formally defined whether BiH has a federal or confederal character. Strengthened competences of the state and a clear direction towards greater empowerment of the state level institutions suggest a movement from a confederation to a federation. However, while there is no agreement on what exactly Bosnia is, what is even more alarming is the abuse of the concept of federalism by Bosnian elites. Serbs consciously misinterpret federalism to underline their demand for more autonomy and, ultimately, secession. Croats see federalism as a tool to argue for a third entity, while Bosniaks promote the idea of regionalism instead. Thus, despite the fact that it has been twenty years since the first post-war elections, nothing has really changed; Bosnia and Herzegovina remains a highly unbalanced and badly constructed federation.

Continue reading →

Posted by Aleksandra Zdeb in Case Studies, 0 comments
Joint-decision Making: An Alternative to Centralisation / Decentralisation

Joint-decision Making: An Alternative to Centralisation / Decentralisation

Abstract

The text presents the concept of joint-decision making as an idea and alternative to the already established concepts of centralisation and decentralisation in federal studies. Whereas the notions of centralisation and decentralisation seem to be well established in federal studies, the idea of joint-decision making seems to count only as a German speciality or a German feature of federal studies. This paper further explores this idea and concept, drawing upon the German case as well as suggesting it is worth expanding beyond it.

Continue reading →

Posted by Dominic Heinz in Theory, 0 comments
Dynamic Federalism

Dynamic Federalism

Abstract

Traditional federal theory seems no longer apt to grasp recent evolutions in state structures. By delimiting federal states in terms of defining institutional features, federalism scholars put themselves at the margin rather than the centre of where the action is: fragmenting dynamics in multinational states, secession movements, as well as centralist and decentralist tendencies within the European Union. In a dynamic approach to federalism, all multi-tiered systems are assembled with a common denominator being how they manage tensions between autonomy claims of territorial entities on the one hand, and the need for cohesion or efficiency of the central government on the other. In this approach, qualifying criteria to categorise state structures become mere indicators to rank multi-tiered systems on a gliding scale from the most central to the loosest systems. The ranking is based on three sets of indicators, one measuring autonomy, another measuring cohesion and a third, linking both, measuring participation. The core question examined in this contribution is: which mechanisms in the constitutional system have a centralising or decentralising effect?

Continue reading →

Posted by Patricia Popelier in Theory, 0 comments
Condominiums and Shared Sovereignty

Condominiums and Shared Sovereignty

Abstract

As the United Kingdom (UK) voted to leave the European Union (EU), the future of Gibraltar, appears to be in peril. Like Northern Ireland, Gibraltar borders with EU territory and strongly relies on its ties with Spain for its economic stability, transports and energy supplies. Although the Gibraltarian government is struggling to preserve both its autonomy with British sovereignty and accession to the European Union, the Spanish government states that only a form of joint-sovereignty would save Gibraltar from the same destiny as the rest of UK in case of complete withdrawal from the EU, without any accession to the European Economic Area (Hard Brexit). The purpose of this paper is to present the concept of Condominium as a federal political system based on joint-sovereignty and, by presenting the existing case of Condominiums (i.e. Andorra). The paper will assess if there are margins for applying a Condominium solution to Gibraltar.

Continue reading →

Posted by Francesco Violi in Theory, 0 comments
Nigeria: A Federation in Search of Federalism

Nigeria: A Federation in Search of Federalism

Abstract

This article argues that the Nigerian federation epitomises an incomplete federal arrangement. The feelings of marginalisation, which had been suppressed during the military era are fully expressed by ethno-regional groups in the post-military era and these feelings finds expression in the potent agitation for a more functional federal system. The Nigerian political elites have at different times attempted to grapple with the imperfections inherent in the country’s federal system by putting in place a range of distributive and structural mechanisms but the increasing agitation for “true federalism” indicates that the governmental system is defective and in serious need of some bold political reform.

Continue reading →

Posted by Dele Babalola in Case Studies, 0 comments
Multinational Federalism: How to Measure A ‘Federal Deficit’?

Multinational Federalism: How to Measure A ‘Federal Deficit’?

Abstract

Multinational (quasi)federations are polities that hold together at least two constituent national partners. Unlike sovereign or majoritarian nations, minority nations that evolve in such federations usually cannot fully empower their societal cultures exclusively with their own autonomous will and institutions. We argue that such inability can lead to a more or less prominent multinational federalism deficit. Indeed, the less a multinational (quasi)federation enables its minority nation(s) to develop and consolidate their respective societal culture, the more likely it is to display such deficit, and vice-versa. But how can we measure such a deficit? We identify six legally oriented pillars that are central for a minority nation to sustain its societal culture. Those pillars, which we operationalise through twelve indicators, form the building blocks of the Societal Culture Index. The Index allows measuring and comparing minority nations by combining normative studies and empirical research.

Continue reading →

Posted by Félix Mathieu and Dave Guénette in Diversity Management, 0 comments
Non-Territorial Cultural Autonomy

Non-Territorial Cultural Autonomy

Abstract

Non-Territorial Cultural Autonomy (NTCA) advocates the creation of minority rights regimes in societies that are culturally diverse, but which for a variety of reasons are not wholly suited to federal solutions. In this contribution, I examine the long history of NCTA, drawing upon a number of empirical examples to substantiate the claims made by both is supporters and detractors. In the final section, I turn to the contemporary relevance of NCTA, concluding that while assessments on the efficacy of NTCA tend to be rather gloomy, it is a solution that should not be readily dismissed, particularly in a world replete with dysfunctional and failed states.

Continue reading →

Posted by Karl Cordell in Theory, 0 comments