How can peace be secured in multiethnic states? Experts discuss the promises and pitfalls of ethnic power sharing.
Does power sharing bring peace? Policymakers around the world seem to think so. Yet, while there are many successful examples of power sharing in multi-ethnic states, such as Switzerland, South Africa and Indonesia, other instances show that such arrangements offer no guarantee against violent conflict, including Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Zimbabwe and South Sudan. Given this mixed record, it is not surprising that scholars disagree as to whether power sharing actually reduces conflict. In their new book, “Sharing Power, Securing Peace? Ethnic Inclusion and Civil War”, Julian Wucherpfennig and coauthors Lars-Erik Cederman and Simon Hug shed new light on this important debate. Based on systematic data and innovative methods, the book comes to a mostly positive conclusion by focusing on practices rather than merely formal institutions, studying power sharing's preventive effect, analyzing how power sharing is invoked in anticipation of conflict, and by showing that territorial power sharing can be effective if combined with inclusion at the center. The authors' findings demonstrate that power sharing is usually the best option to reduce and prevent civil conflict in divided states.
Join us for a conversation with Julian Wucherpfennig (Hertie School), Alex Scacco (WZB), and Ryan Griffiths (Syracuse University).
This event is hosted by the Centre for International Security.
Julian Wucherpfennig is Professor of International Affairs and Security at the Hertie School. His research focuses on the strategic nature of political violence and conflict processes, especially ethnic civil war and terrorism. He has been an Assistant Professor and Programme Director for Security Studies at University College London, and a postdoctoral research fellow at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, from where he holds a PhD (2011) and an MA (2008) in political science. His PhD on ethnic conflict was awarded the ECPR Jean Blondel Prize.
Ryan Griffiths is a Research Fellow at the Centre for International Security and an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. His research focuses on the dynamics of secession and the study of sovereignty, state systems, and international orders. Previously, he taught at both the University of Sydney in Australia and at John Hopkins University. He earned a Ph.D. in international relations and comparative politics at Columbia University in 2010.
Alexandra Scacco is a Senior Research Fellow and Vice Director of the Institutions and Political Inequality unit at the WZB. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University and previously worked as an Assistant Professor at New York University. Her work focuses on the causes and consequences of individual decisions in conditions of extreme risk, where potential costs are high and benefits uncertain.