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Lustick: Stability in divided societies

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

Lustick. 1979. Stability in divided societies: Consociationalism v. Control. World Politics 31 (April): 325-44.

In Brief

The main point: we should study how it is that "control" regimes maintain stability in deeply divided societies (even if normatively we favor consociationalism). He's not talking (exclusively) about brutally oppressive regimes that quash minority groups; he's talking about regimes that, although less than democratic and clearly subordinating minorities, manage to prevent ethnic conflict despite deep divisions. We should understand how and why these regimes work (e.g. how did South Africa remain stable for so long? How did Iraq keep the Kurds from fighting [this was before Saddam's gas attacks]?). See a list of future research questions in the conclusion.

Lustick also suggests that, in some situations, control regimes may be better than consociationalism.

Implication: Understanding how control works might help us understand when consociationalism or other democratic methods will work.

See Lijphart's review of this at the end of "Multiethnic Democracy" (1995).

Research on similar subjects


Lustick, Ian (author)Comparative PoliticsConsociationalismEthnic CooperationEthnic ConflictNationalismDivided Societies

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