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Queen's University

Ethnicity and Democratic Governance

Constitutional Design in Divided Societies


choudhryvol.gifConstitutional Design for Divided Societies: Integration or Accommodation? 
March 2008 - Edited by Sujit Choudhry
Oxford: Oxford University Press

ICON.gifConstitutionalism in Divided Societies 
Special Issue of the International Journal of Constitutional Law (I·CON)
October 2007 - Edited by Sujit Choudhry
Volume 5, Issue 4

November 3 - 4, 2006
University of Toronto

  • Co-organizers:
    • Sujit Choudhry (University of Toronto)
    • Richard Simeon (University of Toronto)

Papers and discussion in Spoke 2 focused on the issue of ‘constitutional design in divided societies’ and specifically on the debate that takes place between accommodationists and integrationists. Accommodationists argue for the need to recognize, institutionalize and empower differences. They recommend a varying range of instruments to achieve this goal. Integrationists counter with a range of alternative strategies that seek to blur, transcend and cross-cut differences. Integrationists believe that the accommodationist approach may entrench, perpetuate and exacerbate the very divisions they are designed to manage. Accommodationists counter that integrationists often exaggerate the basis for unity and ignore the reality of divisions on the ground. They argue that accommodation is needed for stability and warn that integrationist prescriptions may lead to disaster in contexts of deep division. The debate between these two approaches is waged not just within the academy but is central to the political debate in divided societies everywhere.

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