Nonelectoral Participation in Deeply Divided Societies: Transforming Consociations from the Ground Up?

Timofey Agarin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
202 Downloads (Pure)


Premised on elite accommodation, consociations provide little consideration for citizens' input on institutional change. Likewise, valuable analyses of cross-community political participation in divided societies have emerged in recent years, yet whether the relationship between the grassroot and formal political process has broader consequences remains to be fully explored. The article examines the conditions in which nonelectoral participation takes place and the ways in which actors involved therein negotiate constraints for continuous cross-community mobilization. The structure of political systems and the nature of deep divisions in Northern Ireland and Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina invite a comparison of the consequences of nonelectoral political participation in these two illustrative case studies. The article concludes that while the formal political context shapes the likelihood of engagement on a cross-community basis, whether nonelectoral participation changes the structure of political decision-making depends on the willingness and ability of those involved to cooperate with formal institutional politics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-360
Number of pages17
JournalNationalities Papers
Issue number2
Early online date13 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Association for the Study of Nationalities.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Bosnia
  • consociationalism
  • deeply divided societies
  • nonelectoral participation
  • Northern Ireland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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