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Conclusion: Emergence, Operation and Categorization of Federal Structures in the Post-Cold War Era

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Part of the Federalism and Internal Conflicts book series (FEINCO)

Abstract

The Conclusion highlights the importance of federalization as a process in the post-Cold War era, which might well include periods of de-federalization. Federal structures emerge in a variety of ways, sometimes just as political ideas and discussion points in peace negotiations, sometimes through weak decentralized structures, and sometimes—often over time, as fully-fledged federal systems. What has become obvious in the studied is that federal arrangements are not the result of one-off agreements or bargainings, but they evolve in phases and over time. This evolution, the federalization process, is also not linear, and there is no guarantee that a federation will be the outcome. In fact, it is not even certain that federalization processes will always strengthen regional autonomy and federal structures, but might undo some previously agreed autonomy arrangements, or create ‘federal shells’—leftover institutions and provisions with little or no practical meaning. Federal structures can further evolve in authoritarian contexts, and can contribute to further authoritarianism in fragile transitional contexts. We conclude by highlighting how our understanding of federalism is changing and that it is time for academia to catch up with empirical developments and the changes that are happening in many countries.

Keywords

  • Federalization
  • Emergence
  • Operation
  • Authoritarian tendencies
  • Democratization

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Fig. 14.1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Dardanelli (2019, 275–280) mentions an assembly directly elected by the people of the region, primary law-making powers in at least one key area of government, considerable fiscal independence as criteria for self-rule. An involvement of sub-central tiers and entities into central law-making and their participation in checks and balances are necessary to establish efficient shared rule.

  2. 2.

    We excluded Syria because its informal practices are not linked to any federal structures or practices but to the nature of its authoritarian regime.

  3. 3.

    Riker was convinced that the formation of federal systems is to be explained by military threats. He focused on two conditions: politicians want to expand their territorial control, but do not have military capacity or refrain from conquest due to ideological concerns, while politicians who accept the bargain either desire to prevent military threat or participate in the potential aggression of the participation. Guided by rationalist logics, he set aside other possible explanations for the origin of federalism, as put forth by this book. See Volden, 2004, 91–95.

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Keil, S., Kropp, S. (2022). Conclusion: Emergence, Operation and Categorization of Federal Structures in the Post-Cold War Era. In: Keil, S., Kropp, S. (eds) Emerging Federal Structures in the Post-Cold War Era. Federalism and Internal Conflicts. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-93669-3_14

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