‘Bumps in the Road Ahead’: How External Actors Defuse Power-Sharing Crises

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Abstract

Power-sharing is a governance approach favoured by external actors for building state capacity and legitimacy in post-conflict societies. Yet it can be unstable and crisis-prone, compelling external actors to guide cross-community cooperation. Why and how do external actors seek to maintain power-sharing and prevent its collapse when operational difficulties emerge? We explore the distinction between ‘light touch’ and ‘heavy hand’ techniques and the motivations of external actors in defusing power-sharing crises. We find a trade-off between the short-term value of crisis management (‘putting out fires’) and the long-term objectives of sustainable local arrangements and external exit (local actors ‘going it alone’).

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McCulloch, A., & McEvoy, J. (2019). ‘Bumps in the Road Ahead’: How External Actors Defuse Power-Sharing Crises. Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 13(2), 216–235. https://doi.org/10.1080/17502977.2018.1526994

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