What are some potential dangers of decentralization in fragile societies?

The Politicus
Mar 25, 2021 04:10 PM 0 Answers
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I'm working on a paper where I consider a decentralized*/federalized* political system in Afghanistan. While there are many journal articles (a quick google search would show this) arguing in favor of a decentralized system, very few actually consider the potential drawbacks - and dangers - of decentralization in fragile contexts. This can be especially true in multi-ethnic warlord-dominated societies, such as Afghanistan, where a decentralized system could pave the way for a disastrous "takeover" scenario by violent non-state actors. Similarly, the potential disadvantages of having a complicated decentralized system in a region where the neighboring countries are hostile, and might take advantage of a premature decentralized system, are rarely discussed as well.

So my questions are for those who might have some experience about this topic.

  • What are the potential drawbacks and dangers of decentralization in
    fragile countries?

  • How much literature do we have that focuses on this?

  • Conversely, is there any literature that argues for a centralized
    system in a fragile context?

Some relevant sample articles:



*I'm not using any specific definition or form of decentralization yet, so that is why I'm using it interchangeably with federalization

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  • March 25, 2021