The Relative Success of Consociational Institutions in Deeply Divided Societies
A Comparative Study of Northern Ireland and Lebanon
Keywords:Comparative Politics, Consociational Democracies, Divided Societies, Good Friday Agreement, Ta’if Agreement
Lebanon and Northern Ireland conjure opposite images on consociationalism in the minds of many political scientists. While in Lebanon, the consociational system widely proved inefficient in preventing the outbreak of ethno-national conflicts, the Northern Ireland’s experience of consociationalism remains vastly positive. Following a “Most Similar Systems Design” defined by Adam Przeworski and Henry Teune (2000), this research note tests the hypothesis that the positive nature of exogenous influences participates to a higher political stability in Northern Ireland relative to Lebanon, where external influences of negative nature had the reverse effect. For the sake of this study, the developments taking place after the signature of the agreements shaping both consociational systems – the Ta’if Agreement of 1989 in Lebanon and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 in Northern Ireland – are analysed through a particular focus on elites’ external relations with patron states and their interactions with their regional or global environments.
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