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Book by Brancati Dawn
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This work represents a superb achievement. Well-written and admirably argued, Peace by Design will probably become de rigueur reading for all those seriously interested in understanding the linkages between decentralization, regional parties, and ethnic conflict. (David S. Siroky, Yale University, writing for Political Science Quarterly)
The debate over whether territorial approaches to managing intrastate conflicts reduce or exacerbate them is as old as it is unresolved with different authors employing different methods and focusing on different cases that offer different answers ranging from strong endorsements of, to stern warnings against, employing decentralisation as a conflict management technique. Dawn Brancatis volume speaks well to this debate and offers one of the more sophisticated answers, differentiating clearly between different sets of conditions and timeframes in which decentralisation - conceptualised as federalism, i.e., a system of government in which central and sub-state governments have their distince legislative competences - might prove a successful mechanism for addressing conflict within states. (Stefan Wolff, University of Birmingham, writing in International Peacekeeping)
Brancati's innovative analysis does makes a valuable contribution to the ongoing academic debate regarding whether or not decentralisation is an effective tool in mitigating intra-state conflict. Whilst on its own Brancati's statistical analysis many not provide all the answers, her research does indeed provide a strong basis from which to further investigate this complex social phenomena through other research approaches. (Aisling Lyon, University of Bradford, writing in Journal of Peace, Conflict and Development)
This book is an important contribution to the research on decentralization, and it is highly recommended to everyone who has an interest in the field. (Johan Dittrich Hallberg, Journal of Peach Research)
Why does political decentralization seem reduce intrastate conflict more in some countries than in others? This question constitutes the central focus of Peace by Design. Brancati argues that the ability of decentralization to reduce intrastate conflict hinges on the electoral strength of regional parties. According to Brancati, regional parties tend to promote intrastate conflict by creating regional identities, advocating legislation harmful to other regions and regional minorities, and mobilizing groups to engage in conflict or supporting extremist organizations that do. Brancati also highlights a number of conditions under which regional parties are more likely to promote conflict, such as democratic transitions.
Brancati further argues that decentralization increases the strength of regional parties depending on particular features of decentralization (i.e., the proportion of legislative seats a region possesses, the number of regional legislatures in a country, the upper house election procedures, the sequencing of national and regional elections). These features of decentralization vary across countries and are fundamental to explaining why decentralization is not effective in reducing conflict in all countries.
Brancati's ultimate conclusion is that decentralization can be effectively designed to promote peace, as long as it is designed to encourage statewide parties to incorporate regional parties into their agendas and to limit the strength of regional parties. The author provides compelling evidence for her argument through three detailed cases studies (e.g., Czechoslovakia, Spain, and India) and a rigorous quantitative analysis in which she introduces a new dataset on constituency-level elections that will prove an invaluable resource for many future studies.
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