The Project

In recent years the study of federalism has become a veritable growth industry in political science research. Given that circa forty per cent of the world’s population live in federal states, the development of federal studies is somewhat unsurprising. In the twenty first century, federalism, or more accurately territorial autonomy, continues to feature prominently on research agendas and is often proscribed, notably by international organisations, as a solution to address and manage some of the world’s most intractable conflicts. As such, the federalism literature has continued to expand, yet a plethora of puzzles, paradoxes and irregularities remain. Indeed, despite this outpouring of research, there is still a paucity of scholarly consensus on what ‘federalism’ exactly means.

The 50 Shades of Federalism is a project established in October 2017 by Drs Paul Anderson and Soeren Keil to help inform debate about many issues related to the topic of ‘federalism’. Having identified five main themes – Case Studies, Conflict Resolution, Diversity Management, Policies and Theory – the central aim of this project is to provide succinct, easy accessible, high quality research articles free of charge. The research articles will feature discussions on a number of abstract and historical issues, as well as illuminate some of the contemporary dynamics in debates on federalism.

Given that the study of federalism straddles a variety of disciplines, we seek to pursue a multidisciplinary approach with contributions from politician scientists, theorists and constitutional lawyers, many of whom are leading scholars in the field. What is more, while we have asked a number of distinguished experts to contribute articles and share their insights on both the historical and contemporary development of federal studies, the project has also involved the participation of early career researchers, many of whom are at the forefront of some of the most important contemporary debates.