Imperial Austria as a Precursor to Consociational Democracy

JVF Conference Papers

The consociational model of democracy, although long recognized by political scientists as a possible solution to the problems of democracy in divided societies, as not gained wide recognition among historians. 

In failing to recognize non-majoritarian democratic alternatives, historians risk overlooking or misinterpreting important political developments.  Simultaneously, greater consideration of consociationalism’s history promises a better understanding of its development, successes, and failures.  An application of consociational theory to Imperial Austria in the late-19th and early-20th centuries reveals that political system to be an unrecognized precursor to 20th-century consociationalism.

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