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Decentralisation (Decentralization) - international examples, definitions, theory

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Confederation (Wikipedia)
Description/subject: A confederation, also known as confederacy or league, is a union of political units for common action in relation to other units. Usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution, confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues (such as defence, foreign affairs, or a common currency), with the central government being required to provide support for all members..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Wikipedia
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 July 2014


Title: Custom (law)
Description/subject: "Custom in law is the established pattern of behavior that can be objectively verified within a particular social setting. A claim can be carried out in defense of "what has always been done and accepted by law." Related is the idea of prescription; a right enjoyed through long custom rather than positive law..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Wikipedia
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 19 November 2014


Title: Decentralization (Wikipedia)
Description/subject: "Decentralization (or decentralisation) is the process of redistributing or dispersing functions, powers, people or things away from a central location or authority. While centralization, especially in the governmental sphere, is widely studied and practiced, there is no common definition or understanding of decentralization. The meaning of decentralization may vary in part because of the different ways it is applied. Concepts of decentralization have been applied to group dynamics and management science in private businesses and organizations, political science, law and public administration, economics and technology."..... 1 History... 2 Overview: 2.1 Systems approach; 2.2 Goals; 2.3 Processes... 3 Government decentralization: 3.1 Political; 3.2 Administrative; 3.3 Fiscal; 3.4 Economic or market; 3.5 Environmental... 4 Ideological decentralization: 4.1 Libertarian socialist decentralization; 4.2 Free market decentralization... 5 Technological decentralization: 5.1 Information technology 5.1.1 Centralization and redecentralization of the Internet; 5.2 Appropriate technology; 6 Critiques... 7 See also... 8 References. 9 Further reading
Language: English
Source/publisher: Wikipedia
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 July 2014


Title: Federalism (Wikipedia)
Description/subject: "Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant (Latin: foedus, covenant) with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units (such as states or provinces). Federalism is a system based upon democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial/state governments, creating what is often called a federation."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Wikipedia
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 July 2014


Title: Hierarchical organization (Wikipedia)
Description/subject: "A hierarchical organization is an organizational structure where every entity in the organization, except one, is subordinate to a single other entity. This arrangement is a form of a hierarchy. In an organization, the hierarchy usually consists of a singular/group of power at the top with subsequent levels of power beneath them. This is the dominant mode of organization among large organizations; most corporations, governments, and organized religions are hierarchical organizations with different levels of management, power or authority. For example, the broad, top-level overview of the general organization of the Catholic Church consists of the Pope, then the Cardinals, then the Archbishops, and so on..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Wikipedia
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 July 2014


Title: Hierarchy (Wikipedia)
Description/subject: "A hierarchy (from the Greek ἱεραρχία hierarchia, "rule of a high priest", from ἱεράρχης hierarkhes, "leader of sacred rites") is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) in which the items are represented as being "above," "below," or "at the same level as" one another..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Wikipedia
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 July 2014


Title: Legal Pluralism
Description/subject: "Legal pluralism is the existence of multiple legal systems within one (human) population and/or geographic area. Plural legal systems are particularly prevalent in former colonies, where the law of a former colonial authority may exist alongside more traditional legal systems (cf. customary law). When these systems developed, the idea was that certain issues (e.g., commercial transactions) would be covered by colonial law, while other issues (e.g., family and marriage) would be covered by traditional law. Over time, these distinctions tended to break down and individuals would choose to bring their legal claims under the system that they thought would offer them the best advantage. Legal pluralism also occurs when different laws govern different groups within a country. For example, in India and Tanzania, there are special Islamic courts that address concerns in Muslim communities by following Islamic law principles. Secular courts deal with the issues of other communities...."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Wikipedia
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 19 November 2014


Title: Localism (politics) - Wikipedia
Description/subject: "Localism describes a range of political philosophies which prioritize the local. Generally, localism supports local production and consumption of goods, local control of government, and promotion of local history, local culture and local identity. Localism can be contrasted with regionalism and centralized government, with its opposite being found in the unitary state. Localism can also refer to a systematic approach to organizing a national government so that local autonomy is retained rather than following the usual pattern of government and political power becoming centralized over time..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Wikipedia
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 08 July 2014


Title: Subsidiarity (Wikipedia)
Description/subject: "Subsidiarity is an organizing principle of decentralisation, stating that a matter ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest, or least centralised authority capable of addressing that matter effectively. The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level. The concept is applicable in the fields of government, political science, neuropsychology, cybernetics, management and in military command (Mission Command). In political theory, subsidiarity is sometimes viewed as a principle entailed by the idea of federalism."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Wikipedia
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 July 2014


Individual Documents

Title: Calls for More Women in Peace Process on European Study Tour
Date of publication: 02 May 2016
Description/subject: "...Bringing more women into Burma’s peace process and construction of a federal state is crucial, several of the country’s female leaders said during a training tour in Europe last month. The women have played various roles in Burma’s peace process and were invited to Switzerland and Norway to learn more about federalism, peace and security issues, and women’s empowerment. Both European countries are staunch supporters of conflict resolution in Burma. The participants reflected on how a political dialogue could be conducted in Burma and how federalism could enrich the country’s young democracy. Naw Zipporah Sein, the vice chair of the Karen National Union (KNU), an ethnic armed organization that signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement with the government last year, said: “A federal system is best-suited to Burma to ensure equality and democratic rights.” “Our public needs to understand how to share power, resources and tax revenue,” she said. “Participation from the people in these core aspects of the federal state is essential.” Meanwhile, Burma’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi said last Wednesday that the government was planning to hold a 21st century “Panglong-style” conference within the next two months, referring to a 1947 agreement Suu Kyi’s father, Gen. Aung San, forged with several major ethnic minorities..."
Author/creator: Nyein Nyein
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 02 May 2016


Title: Shan Advisor Ponders Burma’s ‘Top-Down System’ After Swiss Exposure Trip
Date of publication: 27 January 2016
Description/subject: "Burma’s transition is an example of top-down reform and differs from Switzerland’s bottom-up federalism, said a senior member of a Shan delegation that recently returned from an exposure trip to Switzerland. Khuensai Jaiyen, a long-time advisor to the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), the political wing of the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), told The Irrawaddy that he and his fellows were invited to study democratic systems and federalism in Switzerland by the country’s Foreign Ministry. The visit lasted from January 16-25 and was arranged by the Swiss Embassy in Rangoon. “Their democratic system is not controlled by the top [central government]; it is a bottom-up system. They have a power sharing system among three main governing bodies. Individuals have authority,” said Jaiyen of Switzerland’s system of autonomous cantons and communes. The Swiss constitution grants a central authority but also protects the right to self-government on local issues. “What is happening in our country is a top-down system,” he said of Burma. “Financial institutions are controlled by the top. The public is not allowed to participate [in politics].” Jaiyen also found it noteworthy that the Swiss government holds referendums before spending funds from the national budget and then adheres to decisions made by the people..."
Author/creator: Saw Yan Naing
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: HTML
Date of entry/update: 27 January 2016


Title: Democratization and Containing Ethnic Conflicts in Transitional Myanmar: A Study through Federalism Typologies and Model
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: Introduction: "This paper aims to conceptualize Myanmar's current political system in federalism context by viewing relevant typologies, and models. It also intends to produce a new federalism typology/model that can be applicable to analyzing and predicting Myanmar's political architecture. The paper argues that transitional Myanmar is considered as a presidential-devolutionary federation with hybrid characteristics, combining various unitary and federal elements. More specifically and in dimensions relating to democratization and ethnic conflict management, which are significant in viewing the country's current politics, Myanmar is an oscillating state, pivoting on two different extreme poles (strong unity and strong autonomy or highly centralized unitarianism and highly decentralized federalism); thus making the state dependent much on uncertain-unstable circumstances and the country's federalization tends to be closely related to the fluctuation of power negotiations/competitions between two dominant stakeholders, composing of central government and ethnic opposition groups...".....Paper delivered at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015.
Author/creator: Dulyapak Preecharush
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (198K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 10 August 2015


Title: Divers paths to justice - Legal pluralism and the rights of indigenous peoples in Southeast Asia
Date of publication: 26 November 2011
Description/subject: "Indigenous peoples are among the most historically ancient living cultures of the world and have over time developed their own distinct bodies of laws and institutions of social organisation, regulation and control. These laws and institutions are expressed and practised in ways unique to their sociocultural contexts as self-determining peoples since time immemorial. Today, they are commonly referred to as customary laws (and practices). Customary laws govern community affairs, and regulate and maintain indigenous peoples’ social and cultural practices, economic, environmental and spiritual well-being. However, customary laws and practices and governing institutions have come under frequent and repeated attack, leading to their severe distortion and erosion since the period of conquest and colonisation. This situation has continued with the formation of new States following decolonisation in more recent times. Prejudices against indigenous peoples and projects of nation-building have led to these peoples being marginalised and the practice of their customary laws, cultural practices, beliefs and institutions has become a criminal offence in many parts of the world, including Asia..."
Author/creator: Marcus Colchester & Sophie Chao (eds.) with Ramy Bulan, Jennifer Corpuz, Amity Doolittle, Devasish Roy, Myrna Safitri, Gam Shimray & Prasert Trakansuphakon
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC), Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI)
Format/size: pdf (2,1MB-reduced version; 3.9MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.forestpeoples.org/sites/fpp/files/publication/2011/11/divers-paths-justice-cover.pdf
Date of entry/update: 24 February 2015


Title: When Legal Worlds Overlap: Human Rights, State and Non-State Law
Date of publication: 2009
Description/subject: "...Plural legal orders occur in numerous circumstances: for example, where different family laws apply to specific ethno-cultural groups, where customary dispute resolution mechanisms operate without state sanction, where non-state legal orders (such as chiefs’ courts) are officially recognised, or where quasistate legal orders (such as alternative dispute resolution mechanisms) are established....The report contributes to the discussions on plural legal orders in four ways: It identifies some important misunderstandings and false dichotomies that have made coherent discussion of plural legal orders particularly difficult (and which similarly undermine the understanding of how religious, indigenous, and gender rights actually interact). (Chapters I to IV) It sets out the human rights issues that need to be addressed in the context of plural legal orders. (Chapters V and VI) It examines some specific policy challenges, notably those that occur in the context of recognition of non-state legal orders; recognition of cultural diversity in law; and justice sector reforms. (Chapters VII to IX) It offers a practical approach – some principles and a framework of questions – that human rights advocates and policy-makers can use as a guide when they work in plural legal contexts. (Chapters X and XI)..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Council for Human Rights Policy
Format/size: pdf (489K-reduced version; 946K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ichrp.org/files/reports/50/135_report_en.pdf
Date of entry/update: 19 November 2014


Title: "Society Against the State" (extract)
Date of publication: 1987
Description/subject: "In this seminal, founding work of political anthropology, Pierre Clastres takes on some of the most abiding and essential questions of human civilization: What is power? What is society? How, among all the possible modes of political organization, did we come to choose the monolithic State model and its accompanying regimes of coercion? As Clastres shows, other and different regimes do indeed exist, and they existed long before ours — regimes in which power, though it manifests itself everywhere, is nonetheless noncoercive. In such societies, political culture, and cultural practices generally, are not only not submissive to the State model, but they actively avert it, rendering impossible the very conditions in which coercive power and the State could arise. How then could our own “societies of the State” ever have arisen from these rich and complex stateless societies, and why? Clastres brilliantly and imaginatively addresses these questions, meditating on the peculiar shape and dynamics of so-called “primitive societies,” and especially on the discourses with which “civilized” (i.e., political, economic, literate) peoples have not ceased to reduce and contain them. He refutes outright the idea that the State is the ultimate and logical density of all societies. On the contrary, Clastres develops a whole alternate and always affirmative political technology based on values such as leisure, prestige, and generosity. Through individual essays he explores and deftly situates the anarchistic political and social roles of storytelling, homosexuality, jokes, ruinous gift-giving, and the torturous ritual marking of the body, placing them within an economy of power and desire very different from our own, one whose most fundamental goal is to celebrate life while rendering the rise of despotic power impossible. Though power itself is shown to be inseparable from the richest and most complex forms of social life, the State is seen as a specific but grotesque aberration peculiar only to certain societies, not least of which is our own."
Author/creator: Pierre Clastres
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Society Against the State"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 31 January 2016


Title: The Breakdown of Nations
Date of publication: 1957
Description/subject: "...There seems only one cause behind all forms of social misery: bigness. Oversimplified as this may seem, we shall find the idea more easily acceptable if we consider that bigness, or oversize, is really much more than just a social problem. It appears to be the one and only problem permeating all creation. Wherever something is wrong, something is too big..."
Author/creator: Leopold Kohr
Language: English
Source/publisher: ditext.com
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 30 November 2014