How power-sharing has to adapt - lessons from Northern Ireland, Belgium and Cyprus
In a new book published today, conflict resolution experts at the University of Kent explain how, to be successful, power-sharing has to adapt to changes in the political landscape.
Using three European countries - Northern Ireland, Belgium (Brussels Capital Region) and Cyprus - as examples, co-authors Professor Feargal Cochrane, Professor Neophytos Loizides and Thibaud Bodsen use personal experience of each of their native countries to demonstrate where reform has helped build trust and consensus.
Entitled Mediating Power-Sharing: Devolution and Consociationalism in Deeply Divided Societies the book highlights a classic problem for divided societies namely, how to accommodate political divisions on the one hand, while also trying to transcend them on the other.Throughout the book, the authors highlight this problem and present new thinking about how to provide institutional safeguards for divided communities while also retaining the capacity to move into new post conflict spaces.
Their research evaluates how ideas surrounding power-sharing have changed incrementally within each case study. The unifying argument within the book is that power-sharing has to have the capacity to evolve and adapt to changing political circumstances that inevitably follow negotiated political agreements. The authors argue that with the correct set of conditions that allow power-sharing systems to adapt, evolve, and incorporate dispute mechanisms that respond to their local context, these conditions represent the most viable approach to political institution building available to deeply divided societies today. Mediating Power-Sharing: Devolution and Consociationalism in Deeply Divided Societies by Feargal Cochrane and Neophytos Loizides, of the University's School of Politics and International Relations, and Thibaud Bodson, a Kent alumnus currently completing his PhD at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, is published by Routledge, January 2018.
For further information or interview requests contact Sandy Fleming at the University of Kent Press Office.
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Note to editors
Established in 1965, the University of Kent - the UK's European university - now has almost 20,000 students across campuses or study centres at Canterbury, Medway, Tonbridge, Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome.
It has been ranked: 22nd in the Guardian University Guide 2018; 23rd in the Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2017; and 25th in the Complete University Guide 2018.
In June 2017, Kent was awarded a gold rating, the highest, in the UK Government's Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
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The University is worth £0.7 billion to the economy of the south east and supports more than 7,800 jobs in the region. Student off-campus spend contributes £293.3m and 2,532 full-time-equivalent jobs to those totals.
In 2014, Kent received its second Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.