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:

Series: Comparative Politics


Show Summary Details


This chapter returns to the paradoxes discussed at the beginning of the book in order to assess them critically. The chapter concludes that the main rationale behind devolution was the protection of the state parties’ electoral majorities and that devolution did not appease the secessionist demands. In the four cases under analysis, devolution encouraged peripheral parties further in their demands. The question then is not how much decentralization is enough to make peripheral parties redundant but whether the spiral of radicalization can be stopped. And the chapter’s answer is that only full independence can completely remove the give-and-take politics of decentralized states. Anything short of independence leaves space for the pro-periphery grievance whereas the neutralization of the peripheral party threat requires a degree of consensus among state parties that the dynamic of electoral competition disincentives.

Keywords: paradox of devolution; paradox of policy success; separatism; devolution; centre–periphery conflict; decentralized state; electoral geography; electoral strategies

Chapter.  5529 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.