DOI: 10.5553/RP/048647002001043004529

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Theoretical Development Illustrated by the Case of Belgium

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Tom Knappskog, "Consociationalism", Res Publica, 4, (2001):529-550

    The theory on consociational democracies has evolved significantly in the last decades. One aim of the article is to discuss this development. Arend Lijphart's groundbreaking book from 1977 has inspired critics and lead to important theoretical amelioration. A main problem has been the lack of theoretical connections between the favourable conditions for consociational democracy and accommodative elite behaviour. This reduces the explanatory power of the traditional consociational model. To resolve this, one option is to incorporate elements of consociational theory into more actor-oriented approaches. Such a solution is the closest we came to a functioning synthesis of Lijphart and his critics, and several attempts to combine macro- and micro-level analyses are discussed in the article. The empirical case of Belgium is applied throughout the article to illustrate the theoretical elaboration.

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