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Donald L. Horowitz: Federalism and Ethnic Conflict

In Zusammenarbeit mit dem Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institut & dem Seminar für Wissenschaftliche Politik



Dienstag / 11.07.17 / 20 Uhr c. t. / HS 1098, KG I




Prof. Donald L. Horowitz
(James B. Duke Professor of Law & Political Science Emeritus, Duke University)


Federalism is usually seen as a way to mitigate ethnic discontent in divided societies by devolving power to relatively homogeneous units that can run their own affairs. In fact,
it can perform many additional, generally unrecognized ameliorative functions in such societies. Yet, in practice, it has proven difficult to realize these benefits, because central governments are reluctant to devolve substantial power to subnational units, often be-cause they fear devolution will encourage attempts to secede. When power is devolved, an additional problem arises, deriving from the capacity of regional majorities to re-press regional minorities or to treat them as properly belonging to some other regional unit. 

This lecture will deal with the functions of federalism, the reluctance to adopt it, and the most prominent externalities when federalism is implemented.