Although published respectively seventeen, fourteen and twenty two years ago, Governing the Commons, Making Democracy Work and Ethnic Groups in Conflict discuss important political issues that are still high on the international agenda. Elinor Ostrom uses small scales CPR to prove that individuals can govern themselves without the necessary intervention of the State or the Market. Robert Putnam studies the impact of social capital on institutional performance in Italy. Finally, Donald Horowitz analyses the political dynamics of ethnicity and their impact on ethnic conflict.
Although all three books come together through their analysis of a long-lasting important political problem, they differ concerning the approach and aims of each study. While Ostrom and Horowitz focus their work on developing a new aspect of the theory in their respective area of expertise and offering solutions to the problem they tackle, Putnam seeks to draw lessons from his experiment. Hence Putnam's work contains much more empirical data from which he extracts his conclusions. We also notices that if Ethnic Groups in Conflict and Governing the Commons have titles that fit the content whereas Putnam's title is not clearly related to the body of the book. His book entitled Making Democracy Work, analysis how institutions should perform well thus making democracy work. But institutions can also perform well in undemocratic regimes so good institutional performance is not a factor of democracy. The other two books have titles that fit the content.
Ostrom's case selection is based on worldwide small scale CPR with no externalities, whose appropriators are dependant on the resource. Putnam's study is built upon the implementation of the Italian regions; he didn't choose Italy because it was Italy but because the opportunity arose to study the evolution of the regional institutions. Horowitz based his study on countries in Africa, Asia and Caribbean Islands, he justifies this using the idea of shared experiences such as colonialism, military rule, and low levels of development which strengthen ethnic affiliations and therefore produce ethnic conflict outcomes.
This portfolio regroups book reviews of all the above books. Each review synthesises the theory, the definitions and the methodology touched upon by each author and the critics the work received by other academics. The total amount of work was divided equally between the three group members by each reviewing one book. XX reviewed Horowitz's Ethnic Groups in Conflict, XX assessed Making Democracy Work written by Putnam and XX deliberated about Ostrom's work on the Commons
GOVERNING THE COMMONS
Governing the commons, published in 1990, is the conclusion of Elinor Ostrom's work under the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis. Professor Ostrom is specialised on 'how institutional rules affect the structure of action situations within which individuals face incentives, make choices, and jointly affect each other.' Through her book, Ostrom seeks to resolve the ongoing question of 'whether and how the exploration of common-pool resources [CPR] can be organized' to avoid overexploitation of the resource
Ostrom states clearly her objectives: 'the central question of this study [is] how a group of principals who are in an independent situation can organize and govern themselves to obtain continuing joint benefits when all face temptations to free-ride, shirk, or otherwise act opportunistically.' Her book is organized in five chapters: in chapter 1, she describes the traditional rational-choice games on CPR and why, as a new institutionalist, she picked small-scale CPR situations. In chapter 2, she develops her own definitions of CPRs and addresses the main problems facing individuals when dealing with CPRs and their traditional solution. Chapters 3 to 5 describe three different types of cases: long-term successful ones (chapter 3), ones once faced with institutional change and how they manage to create new rules and, finally, less successful examples. In her last chapter, Ostrom asses how relevant her new framework is. This book can also be divided into two parts: the theoretical framework and the methodological part. The former involves chapter 1-2 and 6, where Ostrom comes back to the theory while by methodology I mean the entire case study.
Theory and definitions: This book is an example of institutional analysis of solutions to the problems of collective action. As she herself defined in later works, 'institutions are the prescriptions that humans use to organize all forms of repetitive and structured interactions including those within families, neighbourhoods, markets, firms, sports leagues, churches, private associations, and governments at all scales. Individuals interacting within rule-structured situations face choices regarding the actions and strategies they take leading to consequences for themselves and for others' (Ostrom 2005: 3).
In chapter 1, Ostrom uses three classical rational-choice models used to theorise the CPR problem: Hardin's tragedy of the commons, the prisoners' dilemma and Olson's logic of collective action. All of these games refer to a negative image of the CPR: 'helpless individuals caught in an inexorable process of destroying their own resource' . Individuals will choose to defect from cooperation every time because, according to Ophuls, environmental problems cannot be solved by cooperation. Thus the tragedy of the commons will happen: degradation of the environment when the individual uses a scarce resource because individuals are not incited to cooperate to maximise their results. They will act rationally and take as much as possible every time. This problem isn't new as intellectuals as far as Aristotle have noticed this human behaviour. Although collective action is an evolving theory, the games stayed the same and are still applied every time even when the traditional models have a negative impact on policy prescription: accepted without many criticisms, they aren't considered as metaphors anymore but as actual solutions. The solutions preached by all three models is intervention – either trough a central authority or through a private enterprise. But these two solutions also bring their shares of problems: how to implement external control if the external authority doesn't have the right or enough information, how to divide equally a resource between all appropriators if the resource is non-stationary? Ostrom concludes that one should not be locked in the same models or try to force them onto all situations. And thus justifies implicitly why she chose to expand the under-developed self-organizing theory.
In chapter 2, Ostrom seeks to define the different notions, the individual behaviour in CPRs and the general problems facing CPRs. A CPR is 'a natural or man-made resource system that is sufficiently large as to make it costly (but not impossible) to exclude potential beneficiaries from obtaining benefits from its use' . Each CPR creates a resource system – that is the 'stock of variable' from which appropriators can take a certain number of 'resource units' from without endangering the long term survival of the system. The two solutions offered by the former games have created two distinguished theories: the theory of the state and the theory of the firm. The latter is a voluntary choice made by the appropriators to engage an external actor to monitor the CPR. The external actor is motivated to be as efficient as possible since all residuals benefits go to him. In the theory of the state, a public institution seeks to increase the level of economic being. The positive points of these two theories are that threats of sanctions are credible. However, all CPR management solution is faced with 3 problems: supply, commitment and monitoring. The supply problem is about what rules to choose that will be appropriate to the CPR and will gather the maximum appropriators. Only mechanisms of trust and community building between the appropriators can solve the supply problem. But to avoid free-riding or any rule-breaking, coercion through sanctions must be imposed thus creating a credible commitment atmosphere. Finally on must figure out how a set of rules can create mutual monitoring: it is presumed that individuals will not monitor themselves, even if they created the rules for them.
Finally, as I said earlier, Ostrom comes back to the theory in her final chapter. She accurately proved that private property or public regulations are not the only solutions to the CPR problem: if the Prisoners' dilemma game, the logic of cooperation and the tragedy of the commons are applicable to large scale CPR problems, they do not apply to all situations. One must not generalise these games. If necessary, self-governed CPR can also be larger scale CPR since every large scale CPR has several levels: to solve the problem, one must go down to the smallest level, find a solution to it and then only start building up. By starting on the smallest level, it enables the appropriators to build a social capital. To summarize her framework, Ostrom created a clear diagram [figure 1], which is divided in two parts: the 'internal world' and the 'external world'. The 'internal world', the summary variable, is the process through which all individuals go through before changing the rules of the CPR. They are unconsciously influenced by internal norms (i.e.: the value accorded to a promise) and by discount rates. Individuals translate information about new benefits and costs (situational variables) into expected benefits and costs, thus allowing them to accurately balance the new set of rules against the old one and to choose the best one.
Figure 1. Summary of variables affecting institutional choice
** Methodology: In this study Ostrom applies the inductive approach. This is not that surprising since Ostrom is a rational-actor scholar. She extracted empirical patterns and theoretical insights on how CPR can be collectively managed and finds an underlying design. Ostrom 'constantly moves between theoretical and empirical observations' which makes her arguments even more credible.
Ostrom chose from a very wide selection of cases to illustrate her theory: different CPRs (fisheries, water basins, high grazing mountains, irrigation systems) in different countries (Spain, Switzerland, Japan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, the US, Turkey, Canada). This is very positive as it out-rules over-fitting. Her selection is based on four criteria: (1) the structure of the CPR, (2) the attributes and behaviours of the appropriators, (3) the rules and finally (4) the outcome. The structure of all her cases are CPRs with a small number of appropriators dependent on the CPR's resource but producing no externalities (the actions taken on the CPR do not have consequences on a third party). Paul Sabatier argues that Ostrom chose the easy side of the problem because such CPR are relatively easy to organise. There is just one flaw to her case selection. Ostrom herself writes, in the preface, that she got the information about the cases from older studies made by sociologists with the exception of the Californian groundwater basins cases as these are already from Ostrom's previous studies. Given the amount of time she would have needed to collect such information, Ostrom's choice is understandable. Nevertheless, the author still is obliged to discuss the reliability, viability or validity of methods used in the original studies. This is never the case in Governing the Commons. As a result, Governing the Commons has a major lack of empirical data to support Ostrom's arguments.
In chapter 3, the first devoted to her case study, Ostrom analyses high mountain grazing CPRs in Switzerland and Japan and irrigation institutions in Spain and the Philippines. All four cases share similarities such as complex environment, a high level of complexity, low discount rates and perseverance. From these four case, Ostrom deduces eight design principles, present in all CPRs, that could be accounted for a successful self-governing organization: (1) clear boundaries and memberships, (2) congruent rules, (3) collective choice arenas, (4) monitoring, (5) graduated sanctions, (6) conflict resolution mechanisms, (7) recognizes rights to organize and (8) nested units. According to Daniel Bromley, professor of applied economics at Wisconsin University, Ostrom concludes that the viability of an institutional system depends on the 'operation of an authority system that can command compliance with an agreed-upon set of rules and conventions' .
In chapter 3, Ostrom addressed long-standing CPR that did not need to change their rules. However in chapter 4, she analyses CPR that managed to change their institutions to become more efficient. This chapter focuses on the underground water basins in Los Angeles. Ostrom noticed three games that helped solve the CPR dilemma. The main game was the litigation game as it was starting point of the institutional change: Californian courts had the authority to resolve the appropriators' problems, but not always for the best of all. But by taking the problem to court, the appropriators would have a set deadline to resolve their issues and create a new set of rules that could benefit all and still avoid saltwater intrusion in the basins or overdrawing (Ostrom, 1990: 111-126). Still in some cases, like for the West Basin, the litigation game did not solve all the problems. So they put into place another game – the entrepreneurship game – by creating a single central agency for both West and Central basins to lower costs and find new solutions. After the creation of this overarching agency, decisions were taken, not by 'one central governmental enterprise' but by several agencies thus creating a polycentric public-enterprise game (Ostrom, 1990: 127-136).
In chapter 5, Ostrom focuses on failed or fragile cases, mainly fisheries. But the interesting part is when, at the end of the chapter, she comes back to the eight principles she drew from the long-lasting successful CPR and applies them to each of her cases. We notice that in all the successful CPR, Japanese and Swiss high mountain pastures, Spanish and Sri-Lankan irrigation systems and underground basins in California, every single design principle are strongly present. But it would be over-fitting to concentrate only on the successful cases. The non-successful CPR are divided in two groups: 'failure' and 'fragile' . The difference between the two is the presence or not of the principles: in the failure cases, one notices that the design principles are a minority (between one and three principles present) while in the fragile cases a majority of the principles are present and the missing ones are often categorised as 'weak'. By studying such a variety of cases, Ostrom is entitled to conclude that the eight design principles she defined in chapter two are to some extend highly related to the success of a self-governed CPR. It is also interesting to note the case the Raymond, West and Central basins which appears twice in the table: at an earlier failed stage and at the current successful stage. This proves that failing CPR can change their rules to include the design principles and become a successful self-governed CPR. Ostrom explores self-governed situations and factors increasing chances of success and factors enhancing institutional sustainability.
Critique: Many authors agree that Ostrom's analysis of the commons is a very useful addition to the debate. Although this is only an intermediate study, Ostrom managed efficiently to centralise all the problems of governing a common in 200-odd pages and provide the academic community with a new approach and a challenge. As she puts it herself, 'We in the social science face as great a challenge in how to address the analysis of CPR problems in their day-to-day lives. The theoretical enterprise requires social scientists to engage in model-building, but not limit theoretical inquiry to that specific level of discourse. [Other social sciences] are making important contributions that need to be carried forward [...]'
Not only does Governing the Commons meet all the objectives Ostrom assigned herself, but it also moves beyond conventional wisdom as the subtitle – the evolution of institutions for collective action – promises : by analysing in depth how the underground basins CPR managed to fight free-riding and counter-prove the traditional games, Ostrom demonstrated that public or private control are not always the best solution and that often, a CPR needs a bit of both to be efficient and fair for all the appropriators. The conclusion Ostrom draws from her comparative studies – the design principles – are definitely a good analysis since scholars have applied them to other CPR and found that they explained why a self-organised CPR was a success or not. As R. Bish puts it, 'what was especially useful about these applications was that the theoretical framework helped me to examine solutions, as well as to understand why a highly professionalized and scientifically strong national bureaucracy could not successfully manage very simple fishery resources.'
However good this book is in some areas, it is not perfect: the first critique I whish to make is that it is nor easily accessible to all. One must already be familiar with the problems of common-pool-resource or have some general knowledge about the logic of collective action. I think it is possible to understand some parts of it quite easily but to get the full impact of her findings the reader must be one a political economist. Moreover, all readers, whether experts or not, do not have access to all ethnographies and the conclusions must be taken on faith.
Finally this study doesn't answer one significant question. That is how institutional structures arise . Could the Mojave groundwater basins CPR have applied to same solutions as the Californian groundwater basins and solve their problem? It is very unlikely because the institutional change in California was feasible because of the presence of an external factor; in this case the reliable court system which could force a solution on the appropriators if necessary and make sure it was put into practise.
Altogether, I think that Governing the Commons is an interesting book. It allows us to broaden our culture to international problems that could touch any of us. The analysis of institutional change is an important aspect of broader political economy that underlies meaningful economic policy advice .
ETHNIC GROUPS IN CONFLICT
Donald L. Horowitz is Professor of Political Science at Duke University (North Carolina, USA). He specialises in ethnic conflict and has earned great respect for his work as a consultant of policies for conflict reduction in Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Russia and others parts Europe, and other books including: “Democratic South Africa? Constitutional Engineering in a Divided Society” (University of California Press, 1991), and “The Deadly Ethnic Riot” (University of California Press, 2001). 'Ethnic Groups in Conflict' was first published in 1985 and it is an exploration of the global phenomenon that is ethnic conflict through analysis and comparison. The author aims to surpass the provision of material related to conflict, which is today sufficiently extensive, and provide a framework for comparing cases subjected to ethnic conflict in order to facilitate explanation and implement resolution techniques accordingly . The central point of his study is a structural approach to ethnic conflict and the hypotheses tested here are firstly, the idea that one may find 'regularities and recurrent patterns' in ethnic conflict, and secondly that the fact that ethnicity is strongly related to conflict does not undermine its positive influence on societies . Furthermore, Horowitz identifies and explains a link between ethnic conflict and democracy by showing how behaviours and struggles lead to ethnic conflict and hinder development . This review will provide a summary followed by a critique of 'Ethnic Groups in conflict' firstly regarding the theories advanced by Horowitz, secondly patterns he identifies through comparative analysis, and finally policies regarding the resolution of ethnic conflicts.
*** Theory and definitions: Horowitz' explains his theoretical approach in parts I (Ethnic Relations and Ethnic Affiliations) and II (The Theory of Ethnic Conflict) of the book. In part I (Chapters 1-2) he begins with the argument that ethnicity is a universal and consistent product, enhanced by shared experiences such as post-imperialism and decolonisation. Ethnic conflict has gradually gained a political structure, whereby the state system provides a framework allowing for its emergence . Such state systems are mostly present in deeply-divided societies identified in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, where the link between identity, political behaviour and ethnicity are stronger and ethnic affiliation to politics overruling . Differentiation is emphasised between ranked and unranked groups in relation to group inferiority, co-existence, and the direction of conflict , centralised and dispersed groups in respect to the political centrality or dispersion ethnicity and their impact on the magnitude of cleavages , and colour against other indicators of ethnicity in respect to the reliability of group relations on the basis visible (colour) and birth-determined traits against mutable traits such as class or religion. Horowitz defines ethnicity as a usually invariable ascriptive and birth-related concept . He uses this definition to explain the correlation between kinship and ethnicity, arguing that ethnic group members will tend to consider each other as part of a family. However, Horowitz notes that the ascriptive nature of ethnicity and considerations on the basis of kinship can change over time, and similarly, the extent to which group boundaries may change will show flexibility, dependant of process of assimilation or differentiation . The author also emphasises that state structures often illustrate strong ethnic affiliations and argues that ethnic affiliations are stronger than class affiliations .
In the second part of the book (Chapters 3-6), Horowitz identifies various important links between ethnicity and, modernization and traditionalism such as ethnic conflict being a reflection of traditionalist disaccord, ethnic conflict as an obstacle to modernization or as a product of modernization . He also discusses other approaches to ethnic conflict such as economic interests, cultural pluralism and their shortcoming before advancing the theory he believes is most effective in explaining motives for conflict; social psychological theory. Horowitz argues that group comparisons are most often the basis of individual identity and hence, important sources of tension between ethnic groups. He adds that group identities result from differentiations established by colonialists, which has in turn led to differentiations between backward and advanced groups - drawing a line between elite and mass behaviour-, their anxieties (fear of extinction) relative to the development of ethnic tension, and psychological stereotypes . The important theories advanced in Chapters 5 & 6 are 'group entitlement' and the 'logic of secessions and irredentas'. The former is a 'joint function of comparative worth and legitimacy...it explains why the followers follow, accounts for the intensity of group reactions...and clarifies the otherwise mysterious quest for public signs of group statues' with emphasis on features of conflict behaviour such as group legitimacy and worth, and symbolism . The logic of secession is a cause for separatism between groups which influences the formation and intensity of ethnic tension . Horowitz compares secessionist behaviours between groups and regions to show why backward groups in backward regions are more likely to secede, as opposed groups in advanced regions . Irredentism is 'a movement to retrieve ethnic kinsmen and their territory across borders' affected by state homogeneity and which creates defensive alliances within states with similar outcomes to secessionism such as the intensification of ethnic tension and conflict escalation .
** Patterns: Horowitz identifies recurrent patterns within party systems, and military politics using comparative analysis in Part III 'Party Politics and Ethnic Conflict' (Chapters 7-10) and Part IV 'Military Politics and Ethnic Conflict' (Chapters 11-13). Taken the length of the section on patterns in the book (Chapters 7-13), I will give a detailed analysis on patterns relating to 'Ethnic Parties and Party Systems'(Chapter 7) which I found most interesting and accessible to exemplify and then discuss his research design and method which are basically the same for all patterns throughout the book. I will briefly mention the other patterns spread across chapters 7-13.
Ethnic Parties and Party Systems:
Horowitz finds that as opposed to Western countries where party systems can moderate ethnic conflict, they tend to deepen ethnic conflict in divided societies from developing countries. He notes that the distribution of support (party support over ethnic support) drives the ethnic affiliations of political parties. Differentiation is made between ethnically based parties - external imperatives, incompatible claims to power, state control and therefore group exclusion - and broadly based parties - competing demands higher than ethnic demands, and priority of common/public interests over particularistic interests, to show that ethnic parties are prone to conflict because interests are conflicting and the party outcomes are ascriptive . Patterns are also discussed by showing that deeply divided societies will usually manifest ethnic voting: 'voting for the party identified with the voter's own ethnic group, no matter who the individual candidates happen to be' He illustrates these regularities by comparing data from Guyana and Trinidad in the 1950/60's to show the way ethnic party systems and electoral behaviours develop and manifest themselves. He uses the case of Guyana to demonstrate 'merger and split' dynamics for example, whereby different ethnic groups (rural Creoles and Indians) joined to make a strong opposition party (DLP) to the ruling party dominated by urban Creoles (PNM). However, when DLP won elections over PNM, it realised that rural Creole votes were necessary to compete with DLP and they needed to be given leadership positions to maintain their support to the party. However, the Indians found this was too high a risk of loosing East Indian support, which caused a split within the group and gradually its dissolution .
In the following chapters, Horowitz identifies patterns relating to 'Competition and Change in Ethnic Party Systems' (Chapter 8) such as centrifugal dynamics displayed by ethnically based parties in party competition, whereby there are no voters between parties for them to compete for, therefore competition takes an outward direction and divides parties . Other patterns relate to different types of multiethnic coalition (convenience/commitment/alliance) and their respective effects on electoral processes and party dissolution (Chapter 9), 'Multiethnic alliances and Parties' (Chapter 10), and chapters 11-13 which discuss regularities with regard to the relationship between ethnic conflict and the military. Relating to the latter, Horowitz suggests that ethnic ends are often justified by military means and that there is a link between civilian politics and the military, which is strengthened through respective ethnic compositions . He also demonstrates using the case of Sierra Leone and its history of coup d'état from 1967 to 1974 , how the military can be used as self-defense against ethnic exclusion through coup d'état .
** Policies: In the last part of the book, Horowitz identifies the limitations and prospects of ethnic policies, and mechanisms used in ethnic conflict reduction (Chapter 14). Limitations are associated with the invariability of ethnicity, which means that ethnic conflict can remain indifferent to policy change , and the diverse nature of ethnicity as an obstacle to integration . Horowitz identifies five techniques to reduce interethnic conflict: (1) dispersion of interethnic conflict through the spread of power, (2) intraethnic arrangement of interethnic conflict (which is more dangerous), (3) creating incentives for interethnic cooperation through territorial arrangements, electoral policies, (4) switching the focus of alignments from ethnicity to interests, and (5) reducing disparities by restructuring conflict attitudes through interethnic redistribution . Through these techniques Horowitz stresses the need to create cooperative group relations using structural and territorial techniques to encourage federalism and regional autonomy . I generally found his proposals well-thought, relevant and applicable, particularly those on reducing majority-minority problems caused by ethnic voting through party fragmentation by splitting a given majority-party into two groups so that part of a majority-group is forced to form an interethnic coalition with a minority-group . Horowitz also provides limitations of the techniques, which allows one to understand why conflict regulation is problematic and context-specific. Horowitz also makes an interesting debate around his concept of integrated power sharing, which emphasises on the dispersion of power and group cooperation to create new cross-cutting cleavages other than ethnic (e.g. Religion) and Lijpart's consociationalist method of conflict resolution which encourages ethnic groups to delegate elites, which would then co-operate to form a 'Grand Coalition' allowing coalition the internal autonomy of groups and minority veto . Horowitz criticises the consociationalist method arguing that its relevance is limited to consolidated democracies and its application to cases which experience less intense conflict (Western countries) and cross-cutting cleavages. However, his own integrated power sharing scheme is not effective in deeply divided societies because the share of power faces problems of credible commitment due to ethnic mistrust and shortcomings of third party involvement for example. Finally, Horowitz discusses the incompatibility of democracy and ethnic division explaining that democracy is not the main outcome ethnic party arrangements direct towards; therefore it tends to be sacrificed for ethnic harmony . However, Horowitz closes his piece reflecting hopes despite the intractability of ethnicity, and reminding readers that the conflictive nature of ethnicity is not a representative of hostile human nature in relation and problems of ethnic party dynamics in relation to democracy are not a result of ignorance.
Firstly, I would note that Horowitz' theoretical approach is an indicator to the complexity of his study and to the accessibility of the book which requires a reader specialised in ethnic conflict or a researcher in the area. This is because the theories he explains are quite specific and would necessitate a reader who already has experience with the topic. Although Horowitz points out specific points, there are too many; this makes the study seem broad and extensive, which can confuse the reader.
The author substantiates every theory he defends, with a wide range of examples from the padi-growing villages in the Kedah state of the Sik district in rural Malaysia to show kinship-related behaviours, to the country of Zanzibar to show the influence of history (prior occupation) and geography on group legitimacy and tension between the Arab and African occupants of the country. While this can be informative and helpful in term of support and illustration for theories, it is difficult for the reader to stay focused with examples that are extremely specific and continuously varying across space and time.
On a more positive note, Horowitz often outlines other perspectives and critiques to his argument before providing counter-critiques, which I found reflected a certain objectivity in his approach. This allows the reader to acquire knowledge on other theories and gain awareness on their limitations.
Because Horowitz' hypothesis is not causal it was quite confusing to determine variables, despite this, one cay see conflict as the dependant variable, ethnicity as the independent variable, and ethnic party systems, and ethnic affiliation as intervening variables. Relating to case selection, Horowitz uses configurative-ideographic case studies which are by nature an interpretative approach to test his theories and acquire patterns using developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean as units of observation. Fair enough, he justifies his choice explaining that these are more prone to ethnic conflict due to common experiences of colonialism and military rule, as opposed to Western countries, which embody institutions that are more autonomous and the case of identity is related to factors other than ethnicity . However, because ethnic conflict has been common in the 3rd world for centuries, an analysis on the possible formation of conflict or research on transferable factors which account for the infrequency of ethnic conflict in the West could be useful for ethnic conflict management.
Horowitz uses a comparative cases strategies design in his method to show recurrent patterns relevant to the evolution and dynamics of ethnic conflict across space and time, and addresses the need of supporting heavy amounts of information regarding ethnic conflict with explanation of behaviours in order to classify cases and provide 'data containers'. I found he was quite successful in providing ways to classify between deeply divided societies and less divided societies such as ranked/unranked groups and advanced/backward groups in advanced/backward regions, but also within deeply divided societies with different forms of multiethnic coalitions for example. However I found his comparative method had limitations because the fact that he used such a wide range of cases made it harder to produce generalisable findings due to the specificity of each case. I find the mode of analysis used by Horowitz is qualitative analysis based on case studies, which makes statistical measurement of outcomes more difficult . Furthermore, such analysis can be seen as biased because conclusions are subjective to interpretations which greatly vary.
Altogether, 'Ethnic Groups in Conflict' is an essential study in ethnic conflict analysis. Although the book is heavy in material, it is far-reaching and allows us to engage in the study of ethnic groups from numerous perspectives. Considering the book was published in the late 80's, it outstandingly contributes to the enriching of the comparative approach to ethnic conflict by combining theory with experience.
MAKING DEMOCRACY WORK
Making Democracy Work, published in1993, is an in-depth study that took place over twenty years. It revolves around a significant political moment, the inception of regional governments in Italy in 19710, which was promised in the post-war Italian constitution in 1948. Robert Putnam is a prominent political scientist and comparativiste who's main interest are the political sociology of political and bureaucratic elites and international negotiations and their connections with domestic politics. This book as we shall see later on tackles a series of big questions in history and political theory and was followed by the emergence of the core concept of 'social capital'. ***
Aims and Design:
Entrenched in the empirical study of the development of regional-level government in contemporary Italy Making Democracy Work was researched collaboratively by political scientists Robert Putnam, Robert Leonardi and Raffaella Nanetti. Making Democracy Work is an attempt by Robert Putnam to draw lessons for the explanation of Italy's « southern question » that is why there are such differences between the North and the South, and more generally for the bases of successful democratic institutions in Italy and elsewhere. In fact, Putnam asked « why do some democratic governments succeed and others fail? » . Putnam's book is organized in six chapters. Each chapter in the book starts with one question and end with another as Putnam says in his last chapter .
In chapter one, which is an introduction of the book, he explains the aim of his book, which we have stated above and explains that Making Democracy Work will attempt to draw lessons from the « unparalleled opportunity » that the creation of regional governments in Italy constituted as an experiment. Chapter one also constitutes an overview of the book. Robert Putnam chose Italy as his case study not because it was Italy, but because it was a natural experiment that presented « a rare opportunity to study systematically the birth and development if a new institution » . He points out that this study was so unique because there were sharp economic, social, political and cultural differences in the regions but that the regional institutions were identical. In fact, the North is more developed than the South. In chapter two, he examines change through time and asks « how did the new regional institutions affect the practice of politics? » . This chapter walks us through the creation of the regions and their development. In this chapter he also comes to conclude that « the regional reform appears to be exacerbating , rather than mitigating, the historical disparities between the North and the South » . Chapter three asked how successful each regional institutions were at governing and attempts to measure government performance by setting itself « four severe tests » . He states four conditions for the measurement of 'good governance': comprehensiveness, internal consistency, reliability, and finally the correspondence to the objectives and evaluation of the institution's protagonists and constituents. In this chapter he also composes an index of twelve indicators, which he argues reflect institutional performance. He then concludes the chapter by arguing that some regional governments are consistently more successful than others based on the data and the index he composed. In chapter four, Robert Putnam uses his finding from the previous chapter and asks why some institutions are working well and others aren't. He attempts to explain the differences in institutional performance across regions and introduces the concept of 'civic-ness' and socio-economic modernity. His conclusions to this chapter's question are that « the most important factor in explaining good government is the degree to which social and political life in a region approximates the ideal of the civic community » . In chapter five, he asks « why are some regions more civic than others? ». In this chapter Robert Putnam talks about Italy's history and assessed the importance of the past history of Italy. And finally in Chapter six, the last chapter of making Democracy Work, he explicates « the vicious and virtuous circles that have led to contrasting, path dependent social equilibria » . In this final chapter, Robert Putnam quotes Elinor Ostrom and her work on CPR cooperation. He noticed that the south is faced with the same collective action problems that the CPR face. He argues that this lack of cooperation in the south is due to a weak social capital: he makes his case that social capital should be steadily built on to foster cooperation. Like Ostrom, Robert Putnam talks about dilemmas of collective action and uses four game theories to explain the story behind the vicious and virtuous circles of civic Italy. ** Theory and definitions:
The conventional wisdom, before Robert Putnam wrote this Making Democracy Work, was that « prospects for stable democratic government depend on [...] social and economic transformation » . In chapter two, in his quest to find whether « rewriting the rules of the game will produce the intended effects » , Putnam refers to the new institutionalism, which argues that institutions structure politics and points out that this is a hypothesis and not an assertion . He also confirms Nicolo Machiavelli's theory that « whether free institutions succeeded or failed depended on the character of the citizens, or their « civic virtue» » Robert Putnam claims that Making Democracy Work's « intent is theoretical » and that its « method is empirical » . In fact, throughout the book he asks questions to which he answers with empirical data. The last chapter of Making Democracy Work points out that the importance of social capital as a pre-requisite for democracy. ** Methodology:
Making Democracy Work contains a sustained and detailed attention to empirical data. Each of Putnam's chapters are based on empirical data. His study is a cross-sectional and cross-temporal one based on the study of twenty regions but which focuses on six regions. Chapter two as we said earlier comprises a cross-temporal comparative study while chapter 3 and the ones that follow use cross- sectional comparisons.
In chapter one, Putnam writes about the « methods of inquiry » used in Making Democracy Work. He states that « the prudent social scientist, like the wise investor, must rely on diversification to magnify the strengths, and to offset the weaknesses, of any single instrument [and adds that this] is the methodological maxim that [his collaborators and himself] have followed in this study » . In fact, Putnam's research methods stretch from interviews conducted in the six regions on which he focused, to statistical analysis, surveys, and various case studies and mappings. Interviews were conducted with councilors and community leaders over a certain period of time. Putnam also did national mail surveys, other surveys constituted the questioning of voters nationwide.
Making Democracy Work uses the civic-ness as the independent variable, which Putnam says is composed of four factors: preference voting, referendum turnout, newspaper readership and finally density of associations. The dependant variable of course is the institutional performance of each of the Italian regions, which as we have seen earlier is based upon twelve indicators In order to validate his hypothesis that there is a connection between 'civic-ness' of a community and the quality of its governance, Putnam summarizes some of his findings from his researches in two maps. The first one figure 4.1 in chapter four represents the institutional performance in the Italian regions between 1978 and 1985 from the highest to the lowest performance; equally figure 4.4 in the same chapter, s a representation of the civic community in the Italian regions ranking the most civic to the least civic regions. A « casual comparison of the two figures indicates a remarkable concordance between the performance of a regional government and the degree to which social and political life in that region approximates the ideal of a civic community » . Putnam uses this method various times in the book, as it is an easy way to show correlations between variables. ** Findings:
In Making Democracy Work, Robert Putnam's findings are numerous and some are striking. Robert Putnam starts off with a hypothesis that he demonstrates throughout the book. He shows in chapter two and three how the regional reforms have changed the way politics were done in Italy and how Northern governments as a group have been more successful than their Southern counterparts , in other words he finds that patterns of institutional performance are highly stable over time. This led him to conclude that there were two possibilities that could explain these differences and then tests them (socio-economic modernity or civic community) and concludes that performance was strongly correlated with civic-ness. Civic-ness in 1970s and 80s strongly correlates with civic traditions in 1860-1920. Chapter five is interesting in terms of the findings Robert Putnam makes as it shows how the past influences the future of institutions. In this chapter he finds that civic traditions have a remarkable staying power and that the regions characterized by civic involvement in the late twentieth century are almost precisely the same regions where cooperatives and other civic types of engagement were most abundant in the nineteenth century, and where communal republics of the twentieth century were situated in Italy .
In the last chapter of Making Democracy Work, Robert Putnam explains his findings and argues that according to the findings of the experiment, civic-ness or what he calls social capital is a necessary pre-requisite of a working democracy. He also argues that social capital, which he defines as “features of social organization, such as trust, norms and networks, that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating coordinated actions” , is linked to economic success but it is more a pre-requisite to it rather than a consequence of it. He states that the variations in institutional performance are better explained by different amounts of social capital than by any other factor and that as we have mentioned previously, social capital is slowly built over time and is 'path dependent'.
The reactions to Robert Putnam's work in Making Democracy Work are divided into two types of criticisms the first being the methodology used in Making Democracy Work and the second reactions are those made towards Robert Putnam's theoretical claims. Putnam was praised for combining so many methodological instruments in his research and being so precise and meticulous. As we stated earlier, Putnam uses a wide range of skills in his experiment. As Sidney Tarrows says, « Putnam dared to traverse the gap between the presentism of much social science work and the less certain terrain of history and culture » . The fact that this was a natural experiment makes Putnam's achievement even more unique because he will be the only academic to be able to claim an experiment such as the one he conducted. Some people have criticised him and when reading the book one expects to find measures of democracy whereas throughout the book Putnam's dependent variable measures policy performance and institutional effectiveness not democracy, which according to the title of the book is misleading. Other points have been made about the fact that Robert Putnam draws lessons from this experiment and thinks of applying them to countries in the third world, but many have argued that the regional governments can not be compared to state governments. Some academics such as Goldberg have argued that some of the correlations that Robert Putnam shows in Making Democracy Work disappear when they are run separately. In the book, Putnam does not explain his reasons for choosing the late Middle Ages as the basis of part of his experiment which leaves us to wonder why he chose that part of the Italian history. On the theoretical aspect, Robert Putnam was criticised because he used history to his advantage by only selecting the periods in history that proved his argument, and ignored Italy's unification and the impact foreign domination had on the country.
Putnam's work is very well written, even though I found it difficult to comprehend at first, after a while the reading became clear and I found the book was very good in the sense that it takes the reader logically through the research process, stating very clearly what steps were to be taken. Putnam's evidence also coheres very well with his casual argument and even though some part of the book are confusing, because of so much data and history, the books finding were very interesting and gave me a new insight as to what social capital is and how it might affect institutions. Overall, since the publication of Robert Putnam's work Making Democracy Work in 1993, 'social capital' has become one of the key terms in politics and various other domains. Social capital remains a prominent concept but is still controversial these days.
Conclusion: All three books tackle the issues that they set themselves to quite thoroughly. Ostrom, whose aim was to see how individuals dependent on a resource can overcome individualistic behaviours and create institutions generating benefits for all, comes up with a new answer: self-governed CPR. Horowitz sought to highlight the regularities and patterns built in ethnic conflicts. He concludes that deeply divided societies embody party systems with strong ethnic affiliations; ethnicity is intractable and incompatible with democracy. Nonetheless he suggests policies for conflict regulation. Putnam's aim was to understand and draw lessons from democratic institutions and what influenced their performance. He found that social capital is the answer to a successful our failed institutional organisation in Italy and tried to apply it to other countries, like the US, since then. Elinor Ostrom and Robert Putnam both study institutions and how to design effectives ones that can foster cooperation between the individuals of a community. Both authors agree that the best way to enhance cooperation is to built up the community's social capital. If social capital is strongly present, the individuals trust each not to defect.
To sum up this portfolio, we think it is important to come back to the impact all three books had on the academic world: Ethnic Groups in Conflict by Donald Horowitz is the bible on ethnic conflicts: by covering so many cases, Ethnic Groups in Conflict is a very good comparative book. It gives the reader an extensive background to familiarise oneself with the issue. Some of the methods recommended might be to some extend outdated, the general concepts and analysis are still valid. Making Democracy Work is unique in its own way because it is a “natural experiment”. Putnam chose to investigate institutional change over two decades in Italy. This work is unique because Putnam was on the spot since the implementation of the Italian regions in the 1970s. In Governing the Commons, Elinor Ostrom tackles an old problem with a new insight. The best CPR governance has always been pulled between public governance or letting the market operate. However, Ostrom managed to prove that in some cases, neither are efficient; and that self-governed CPR are a third solution to the problem.