Chapter

The Centre–Periphery Conflict and Two Paradoxes

Sonia Alonso

in Challenging the State: Devolution and the Battle for Partisan Credibility

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199691579
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741234 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691579.003.0001

Series: Comparative Politics

The Centre–Periphery Conflict and Two Paradoxes

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This chapter introduces the theoretical and empirical rationale for the book. It discusses two main themes in the academic literature on devolution and peripheral parties’ growth that are widely presented as paradoxes. The paradox of devolution states that while political devolution is intended to appease the separatist threat it also offers peripheral parties the instruments to push it ahead. According to the paradox of peripheral parties’ success, the policy concessions obtained by peripheral parties in the form of devolution eventually lead these parties to political irrelevance. The chapter argues that these paradoxes are based on questionable assumptions and goes on to present alternative hypotheses, to explain how these hypotheses contribute to the ongoing discussion, and to describe the comparative approach and the structure of the book.

Keywords: paradox of devolution; paradox of policy success; separatism; devolution; centre–periphery conflict; comparative approach; electoral geography; post-devolution

Chapter.  5154 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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