Federal Studies

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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted by Karl Cordell in Theory, 0 comments
Self-Rule and Shared Rule

Self-Rule and Shared Rule

Abstract

‘Self-rule’ and ‘shared rule’ are two widely used notions to define, describe and classify federal political systems. In this contribution, I define what these two concepts mean, particularly in the context of federal studies, as well as discuss the different understandings and practices of them. Drawing upon the Regional Authority Index (Hooghe et al. 2016), I present a number of variables that can be used to measure the self-rule and shared rule dimensions of federal political systems.

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Posted by Sean Mueller in Theory, 0 comments
Federalism and Federation: Putting the Record Straight

Federalism and Federation: Putting the Record Straight

Abstract

The terms ‘federalism’ and ‘federation’ are well entrenched concepts in the political science literature, yet remain contested because in practice people have different understandings of the terms federal, federalism and federation. In this short piece I set out the importance of definitional clarity when discussing the abovementioned terms. Secondly, I discuss the relationship between liberal democracy and federalism, noting that a number of values that undergird federal political systems equally fit with democratic principles. In the final section, I focus on the some of the misunderstood aspects of federalism, using the British case as an empirical example.

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Posted by Michael Burgess in Theory, 0 comments
Linguistic Diversity in Plurinational States

Linguistic Diversity in Plurinational States

Abstract

This article examines the politics of language in plurinational states. First, I argue that the relationship between language and nationhood is politically constructed through two broad processes: state nation-building and ‘peripheral’ activism. Second, I present three broad strategies of territorial management to accommodate the normative and practical issues derived from the politicisation of languages: self-rule, shared rule, and symbolic recognition. Third, I illustrate the discussion drawing on the paradigmatic cases of Catalonia and Flanders.

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Posted by Daniel Cetrà in Policies, 0 comments