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See detailTransforming Unitary States into Federations: Path-Dependent Construction of Political Identities in Belgium and Lebanon
Poirier, Philippe UL; Farhat, Nadim UL; Bourbeau, Philippe et al

in Publius: the Journal of Federalism (2020), pjaa007

The theory of congruence in comparative federalism holds that institutional design will, eventually, reflect societal divisions by transferring central powers to new, autonomous entities. While this model ... [more ▼]

The theory of congruence in comparative federalism holds that institutional design will, eventually, reflect societal divisions by transferring central powers to new, autonomous entities. While this model helps to understand why many divided societies adopt federalism, it cannot explain why only certain unitary states transform into federal ones while others do not. We use a historical institutionalism approach to identify the critical junctures in the trajectory of two prominent plural polities, Belgium and Lebanon. We suggest that the politicization of identities during initial stages of state-building plays a major role in the transformation of a unitary state into a federation—which occurs in the former but not in the latter of our cases. The current contrast in both consociational democracies is explained here as a legacy of the late nineteenth century, which set in motion decisive logics of public governance that direct institutional dynamics until today. [less ▲]

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