Allies or Opponents? Power-sharing, civil society and gender

Claire Pierson, Jennifer Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (SciVal)
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Feminist critics of power-sharing argue that power-sharing structures privilege ethnic/ethnonational identity and impede women's descriptive and substantive political representation. This paper extends these arguments to consider the extent to which consociational theory addresses the role of civil society and women's political voice in postconflict societies. We argue that power-sharing is overly concerned with formal representation to the detriment of understanding the role civil society can play in peace building. Whilst we acknowledge the importance of civil society retaining a critical distance from political institutions, we suggest several mechanisms for incorporating civil society into power-sharing arrangements. We argue that a consideration of civil society can highlight the gendered issues that are ignored in power-sharing settings, and we conclude that a broader understanding of both “politics” and “conflict” is required for power-sharing to be more equitable to women's descriptive and substantive representation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-115
Number of pages16
JournalNationalism and Ethnic Politics
Issue number1
Early online date22 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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