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Tesi etd-11052020-094504

Type of thesis
Corsi integrativi di II livello
Author
PANZANO, GUIDO
E-mail address
guido.panzano@ulb.be
URN
etd-11052020-094504
Title
Plural Democracies: A Comparative Inquiry on Institutions and Performances of Majoritarian and Power-Sharing Ethnically Divided Democracies
Structure
Cl. Sc. Sociali - Scienze Politiche
Course
SCIENZE POLITICHE - SCIENZE POLITICHE
Committee
Tutor Prof.ssa CRISTIANI, ELOISA
Relatore Prof. TOMINI, LUCA
Presidente Prof.ssa HENRY, BARBARA
Membro Prof. LORETONI, ANNA
Membro Dott. BRESSANELLI, Edoardo
Membro Prof. DE GUTTRY, ANDREAS M.T.
Membro Prof.ssa ALABRESE, MARIAGRAZIA
Membro Dott. SOMMARIO, EMANUELE GIUSEPPE
Keywords
  • democracy
  • ethnicity
  • majority rule
  • power-sharing
Exam session start date
;
Availability
completa
Abstract
The following thesis aims at assessing the impact of majoritarian institutions in ethnically divided democracies. Arguably, political science literature has often assumed that where ethnic, national, religious, or linguistic identities are politically salient, majoritarian institutions lead to ethnic exclusion and that power-sharing (consociational) democracy is the only possible democratic regime. However, these theoretical affirmations have not been empirically and extensively tested. Moreover, while scholarly efforts have been devoted to disentangle the complex effect of power-sharing on democracy, the role of majoritarianism in ethnically divided democracies remains surprisingly unexplored. In brief, typologies of ethnically divided democracies, accounting for forms of democracy or institutional settlements as well as empirical performances or political practices, are deemed unclear, asymmetric and uncoherent. <br>Accordingly, the thesis classifies types of majoritarian and power-sharing democracy in plural societies. The broad research question the work shall addresses is thus: How are democratic regimes in plural societies articulated? More specifically, I shall also examine which dimensions can grasp the institutional varieties and practical performances of democratic regimes in ethnically divided countries. I shall then formulate an answer to the underling and driving interest of the thesis: namely, what is the effect of majoritarian institutions in plural democracies, in terms of ethnic inclusion and exclusion? <br>I shall thereby propose a comprehensive classification of democracy in ethnically divided societies, to examine institutional varieties and qualities. Applying factor analysis to a large bunch of variables on institutions and political practices connected to ethnic relations, the thesis shall test previous theories of mainstream comparative politics to show a map of 47 plural democracies through 18 variables along 2 institutional dimensions: (i) majoritarianism or power-sharing in the government, parliament and electoral system and in (ii) the territorial articulation of power. I shall then add another dimension, showing the influence of institutions on (iii) regime quality related to group relations: ethnic inclusion or exclusion. This framework, coupling de jure institutions with de facto performances, proves that: (i) power-sharing democracy is positively associated with ethnic inclusion in plural societies. Nevertheless, (ii) power-sharing might be considered ‘the exception rather than the rule’ in plural democracies, and therefore (iii) majoritarian democracy occurs in plural societies and may coexist with ethnic inclusion.<br>A simple quantitative, variable-based analysis is insufficient to explain this pattern. However, this is the reason why a new typology is much-needed not only in academia, but in every day’s life. In fact, a classification, individuation and discussion of each different type could help make inference within and across the resulted categories. Reformulating and complexifying the framework, I shall thus advance other observations in the qualitative discussion, most notably that: (i) majoritarian institutions in plural societies often lead to ethnic exclusion, albeit (ii) this scenario can be avoided when exogenous factors are at play (party system, political culture/tradition of accommodation). However, as a first diachronic analysis will show, these conditions are precarious and (iii) majoritarian institutions, in particular the centralization of power, are demonstrated to be ill-suited to deal with territorially concentrated minorities.<br>The thesis offers a detailed classification and discusses examples of majority rule and power-sharing in plural democracies, and finally proposes further research directions, including regime quality and change. To conclude, despite being centered on a large-N comparative analysis, the work provides scholars with a new typology, to describe causal mechanisms within and among its categories. It gives a framework to analyze comparable phenomena in plural democracies (in particular, ethnic exclusion related to majoritarian institutions, or autocratization connected to ethnicity), which are prominent nowadays.
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