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A Treatise on Northern Ireland, Volume IIIConsociation and Confederation$
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Brendan O’Leary

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198830580

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198830580.001.0001

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Conceptual Conspectus

Conceptual Conspectus

Consociation and Arbitration

(p.1) 3.1 Conceptual Conspectus
A Treatise on Northern Ireland, Volume III

Brendan O’Leary

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains the development of the concepts of consociation and arbitration in political science. Full consociations reference political systems characterized by parity, proportionality, autonomy, and veto powers among the several parties to the pact. There are, however, important variations in the manner and the extent to which consociations are formally institutionalized. Arbitration defines political roles and policies through which third parties profess to act as neutral mediators willing to pursue impartially the shared and several interests of potentially conflicting ethnic groups. The chapter reviews both normative and explanatory debates over the formation and breakdown of consociations, and intimates their importance for the case at hand, Northern Ireland.

Keywords:   consociation, power-sharing, arbitration, parity, proportionality, autonomy, veto powers, complete, concurrent, and light consociations

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