Aisling Lyon's tour de force critically engages with the assumption that a redistribution of state responsibilities enhances democracy and social harmony. Her vital contribution to debates about decentralisation sets the experiments in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia within the wider context of global trends of fragmentation. Does decentralisation help to pacify societies, leave them to fend for themselves or merely grant them cosmetic authority? This is a book to be savoured as much for its compass as its attention to detail.
Michael Pugh, Emeritus Professor, University of Bradford, UK & Visiting Professor, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands
Exploring the dynamics and impact of decentralisation on inter-ethnic relations in post-Yugoslav Macedonia, Lyon engages thoroughly with existing theories of conflict management, territorial state construction, and decentralisation and offers a wealth of original empirical analysis. This exceptionally timely contribution to our existing knowledge and understanding provides highly relevant policy recommendations and should be required reading for all serious students and analysts of ethnic conflict in the Western Balkans and beyond.
Stefan Wolff, Professor of International Security, University of Birmingham, UK
This important study not only contributes to our understanding of contemporary Macedonia, but also makes an important argument about the importance of decentralisation as a tool of conflict management. Macedonia is the prime case study of international mediators seeking to address interethnic relations through decentralisation and local-level power-sharing. Aisling Lyon provides a very well-researched, nuanced assessment of whether decentralisation has delivered. The weaknesses of the Macedonian experience provide useful guidance for policy makers in addressing interethnic conflict elsewhere.
Florian Bieber, Professor of South East European studies, University of Graz, Austria
"This book should serve the political elites in the Republic of Macedonia as a reality check on the progress of the implementation of decentralisation reforms. Its research findings are also relevant to practitioners working in the country, and the policy recommendations it offers provide a useful tool for future progress. It is very useful reading for students, academics, political analysts, activists and NGOs studying the process of decentralisation and the circumstances that preceded the Ohrid Framework Agreement."
Review of Social Studies (RoSS), Vol.3, No.1, 122 Spring 2016
Maja Trajkovska, independent writer and researcher, Republic of Macedonia
About the Author
Aisling Lyon obtained her PhD from the Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, and has worked internationally on a number of local government capacity-building projects. Her research interests include institutional design in multi-ethnic states and the political systems of South-East Europe and Turkey.