Consociation in a Constant State of Contingency? The case of the Palestinian Territory

Michelle Pace, Laurence Cooley

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It has become common to regard consociational democracy as a method of managing conflict in ethnically divided societies but little attention has been paid to its applicability to societies where the primary political cleavage is between secular and religious forces. This article seeks to redress this imbalance by examining the applicability of consociationalism to the case of the Palestinian Territory. We argue that, while Palestinian society is characterised by ‘pillarisation’ along a secularist/Islamist cleavage, formal power-sharing between the representatives of the two main Palestinian factions, namely Fatah and Hamas, has proved elusive. However, rather than seeking to explain the seeming inability of the factions to share power by reference to the nature of the cleavage, as other authors have done, we instead highlight the contextual factors that have made power sharing difficult to achieve, namely the difficulties Hamas and Fatah face in accepting each other as political partners, and opposition from external actors.
TidsskriftThird World Quarterly
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)541-558
StatusUdgivet - 2012
Udgivet eksterntJa

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