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What Belgium Can Teach Bosnia: The Uses of Autonomy in 'Divided House' States

Stroschein, S; (2003) What Belgium Can Teach Bosnia: The Uses of Autonomy in 'Divided House' States. Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe (3) 1 -29. Green open access

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Abstract

Belgium and Bosnia can be understood as “divided house” states, which contain proportionally similar groups with opposing views regarding whether the state should be more unitary or more decentralised. The Belgian example demonstrates that even where groups disagree on state structure, a mixture of various forms of group autonomy may facilitate stability and compromise within the state. Belgium addresses this dilemma in two ways: 1) non-territorial autonomous units in the form of the linguistic communities, and 2) exclusive competencies for different units within the diverse Belgian state. In Bosnia, the rights of minorities in different territorial units, as well as refugee returns to areas where they are minorities, might be improved by structures with non-territorial autonomy that are similar to the Belgian linguistic communities. Similar to Belgium, these non-territorial units might hold exclusive competencies for educational, linguistic, cultural, and religious matters, and enable more political representation of minority individuals. In order to advocate working models for Bosnia, analysts should more carefully examine actual examples from states with similarly divided populations.

Type: Article
Title: What Belgium Can Teach Bosnia: The Uses of Autonomy in 'Divided House' States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.ecmi.de/publications/jemie/
Language: English
Additional information: © S Stroschein 2003
Keywords: Non-territorial autonomy, Personal autonomy, Cultural autonomy, Federalism, Belgium, Bosnia, Ethnicity, Autonomy, Ethnic conflict
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/37587
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