Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Consociational theory and democratic stability : a re-examination : case study, Lebanon
Author: Assaf, Noura
ISNI:       0000 0001 3431 0750
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2004
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The present thesis re-assesses the utility of the theory of consociational democracy as a prescriptive conflict-regulation mechanism for plural societies, by re-examining the significance of the so-called causative/positive relationship between consociationalism and democratic stability. This re-assessment is based on a twin-fold examination of the internal constructs and logic of consociational theory, their political/economic procedural aspects and their societal manifestations. This examination is undertaken in two complex historical contexts, pre-war and post-war Lebanon. Mainly, the internal weaknesses of the theory have to do with its inherently flawed assumptions and the imprecise definitions of its main components, which make it problematic to analytically and empirically establish a causative link between consociationalism and democratic stability. Thus, to undertake a meaningful discussion of the ability of consociationalism to deliver on the promise of democratic stability, the thesis elaborates on the definitions of the main components and concepts of consociational theory (as they relate to the Lebanese context). It also examines their relations to democratic theory. Equally, starting with the observations that many countries of the world adopt consociational practices and mechanisms of rule and that consociational theory continues to receive significant scholarly attention, the continuous development and elaboration of the consociational model appear to be a way of alleviating the weaknesses of the theory and expanding its prescriptive power. Hence, particular emphasis is placed on an original elaboration of the definition, concept and representative scope of the grand coalition for two major reasons. First, this is so in the light of the centrality of the notion of elites and their role in consociational democracies (consociationalism being an actor-centered model). Second, this is the case in the light of the fact that executive decision-making power effectively lies within the ruling grand coalition. Based on the complex societal stage on which the thesis unfolds, (i. e., the Lebanese context), the findings of the thesis reveal that the consociational model of democracy is at times unable in very many ways to operate as the consociational theory of democracy suggests. Most importantly for the purposes of the present dissertation, the Lebanese experiments with consociationalism reveal that the model is unable at times to prevent the outbreak of communal conflict involving violence. Furthermore, it does not seem to work properly without a heavy dose of internal mediation and external arbitration. Additionally, it prevents the Lebanese state and social systems from reaching the political maturity necessary for stability. In other words, the Lebanese consociational structure of governance appears to work effectively at ensuring relative stability only if it is continuously assisted by additional mechanisms of conflict-regulation (those of mediation and arbitration). Indeed, the Lebanese consociational model functions relatively well when it borrows from the above-mentioned mechanisms provided by the literature on conflict regulation in plural societies. As such, consociationalism's so-called ability to deliver, alone, on the promise of democratic stability for Lebanon's plural society is seriously questioned.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JA Political science (General) ; DS Asia