What Is Consociation?

  • Brighid Brooks Kelly


Lijphart’s commitment to bringing stability to plural societies has led him to write extensively about consociation in a body of literature published over more than four decades. Scientifically sound quantitative analysis of his theory of consociation requires systematic identification of its elements. This chapter demonstrates that his central claim is that “consociation promotes stability in plural societies.” It also shows that he has consistently described consociation as consisting of four core components: grand coalition, segmental autonomy, proportionality, and minority veto power. The exact meanings of these terms as they are used by Lijphart are precisely described. Consideration of common criticisms of Lijphart’s work in this area emphasizes that quantitative operationalization of the theory of consociationalism and the system’s components is a valuable contribution in itself.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brighid Brooks Kelly
    • 1
  1. 1.Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of DemocracyUniversity of PennsylvaniaSwarthmoreUSA

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