Autonomy Arrangements in the World

Autonomy is a matter of interest not only for academics, but equally for practitioners involved in negotiations about institutional design (politicians, civil servants, their advisors and third party facilitators from international organizations). Bearing this in mind, the research conducted for this project also has a decidedly practical purpose, i.e. to make precisely such people aware of the wealth of options provided by existing autonomy arrangements. Even though it is not possible to transplant one arrangement in its entirety from one context to another, such awareness may facilitate the work of practitioners because it prevents them from having to re-invent every single aspect of the wheel. This has two main implications for our research. First, in order to demonstrate the real wealth of options at hand, we do not limit ourselves to the analysis of the widely acclaimed standard cases, but also cover lesser-known and so far understudied arrangements of autonomy. Secondly, the practical approach compels us to focus on information that is really useful for practitioners and to present it in a user-friendly manner. Read more....

Lastest News

  • E-course “Territorial Autonomy as a Resource for Diversity & for Conflict Resolution. Lessons from the Åland Example 100”

    26 August 2022 (Mariehamn, Finland)

    The Åland Islands Peace Institute has developed an online college course on territorial self-governance using the Åland Islands as an example and case study. This is an interdisciplinary course that takes a broad perspective on discussions of self-governance, self-determination, multi-level governance and the rights of minorities. It addresses Åland’s self-governance, demilitarisation and adoption of neutrality, as well as the culture and language guarantees necessary for any language and culture. Additionally, it discusses the importance of territorial autonomy as a possible tool for conflict resolution, e.g. as a possible solution to ethnopolitical conflicts. The deadline for application is 2 September 2022. More information here.

  • Webinar on "Europe’s Most Durable Autonomies: The Åland Islands and South Tyrol”

    26 January 2022 (Bolzano/Bozen, Italy)

    The 2022 webinar of our Annual Webinar Series "Discussing World Autonomies" focuses on “Europe’s Most Durable Autonomies: The Åland Islands and South Tyrol”. These two successful autonomous regions are often mentioned as a source of inspiration for conflict resolution around the world. In 2022, Åland celebrates the centenary of autonomy while South Tyrol marks 50 years since the adoption of its Second Autonomy Statute. The speakers are Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark (Associate Professor in International Law at Uppsala University and Director of the Åland Islands Peace Institute) and Elisabeth Alber (Senior Researcher at the Institute for Comparative Federalism, Eurac Research). You can watch here the recording of the webinar.

Latest Publications & Readings

  • Handbook on Decentralization, Devolution and the State

    Ignacio Lago (ed.)

    Taking a multidisciplinary approach to the dynamics of political and economic decentralization in contemporary regimes, this comprehensive Handbook offers a critical examination of how the decentralization of governance affects citizen well-being. Expert contributors provide an analysis of theoretical developments and empirical approaches in the study of decentralization, exploring how decentralization is conceptualized and measured. Chapters examine central topics including how the degree and type of decentralization varies over time and across countries, how political decentralization affects the behaviour of parties and voters, and the social and economic consequences of decentralizing power. Offering a comparative perspective, the Handbook utilizes insightful international case studies from Latin America, North America, Western Europe and Asia. Attention is also paid to the impact of the Great Recession of 2008 and the Covid-19 pandemic on intergovernmental relations. Read more...

  • Non-Territorial Autonomy as an Instrument for Effective Participation of Minorities

    Balázs Vizi, Balázs Dobos and Natalija Shikova (eds.)

    This open-access volume comprises a selection of peer-reviewed chapters originally presented at the Second ENTAN conference held in Budapest on 24–25 September 2021. ENTAN is the European Non-Territorial Autonomy Network and the main purpose of the conference was to examine how the various non-territorial autonomy (NTA) models have been implemented and contribute to the effective representation and participation of minorities in public life. It focused on various activities, policies and institutional structures
    in diverse contexts that can be considered as forms of NTA. The contributions offered a critical eye not only on the decision of states to opt for and even constitutionally entrench NTA arrangements but also on the extent to which such arrangements meet minority demands and mitigate territorial and separatist aspirations, ethnic conflict, discrimination and socioeconomic exclusion. Read more...


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