Philip G. Roeder and Donald Rothchild (eds.). Sustainable Peace: Power and democracy after civil war. (2005).

Summary: Authors are examining sustainable solutions to civil wars.  They ask two questions: What types of state structures and political institutions are most likely both: 1) to bring an end to civil war between antagonistic, identity-based groups and; 2) to institutionalize sustainable peace? They start from the accepted finding that power sharing brings the former, but not the latter. While power sharing is preferable in some situations to majoritarian systems (which present a greater danger of excluding minorities), the authors find that by privileging ethnic elites and placing a premium on maintaining control over ethnic constituencies, such systems contain the seeds of their own demise.  Their solution diverges slightly from the power sharing argument.  Instead, they advocate  Power Division – where different kinds of majorities are required for different types of decisions, so that all groups have some access to decision making, but this access derives from the division of powers among institutions rather than among recognized groups (similar to the Federalist Papers)


Method: Case studies of Lebanon (rigid consociationalism), India (flexible ethnofederalism with a strong center), Ethiopia (ethnofederalism after a civil war), and South Africa (power sharing as an interim strategy leading to a unitary state with division of powers.)



‘‘I didn’t read the book, but this seems to have some overlap with the party systems literature – might be a good piece to bring into any discussion of party systems.’’