Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2016

Department

International Studies

Language

English

Publication Title

Review of International Studies

Abstract

The establishment of a decentralized government system can assist states that have high levels of tension. Yugoslavia, the United Kingdom, and Spain are states whose government systems incorporated decentralization to appease issues between their core and peripheral actors. Although decentralization was implemented to assist these countries, it is questionable whether these methods strengthened their abilities.

Michael Hechter discusses how states become stronger in Internal Colonialism: The Celtic Fringe in British National Development. He argues that a core and a periphery exist in all states. The core represents the more dominant culture. The periphery is the less developed group. Hechter claims, “The establishment of regular interaction between the core and the periphery is seen to be crucial for national development.”1 Ultimately, as the core and periphery come together, a state’s potential for greatness increases. This study will compare how Yugoslavia’s, the United Kingdom’s, and Spain’s populations settled into their regions, the institutional arrangements that were put into place to govern their people, and the social pressures that caused these systems to change.

As pressures due to differences in language, religion, and ethnicity arose, these countries’ governments shifted. Their systems incorporated decentralization to grant separate regions higher levels of autonomy. This shift caused Yugoslavia’s system to fail. Devolution in the United Kingdom has increased Scotland’s desire to secede. Additionally, Catalonia’s frustrations with Spain have made it want to separate from its federalist system. Although devolution and federalism attempted to lessen tensions in the United Kingdom and Spain, their systems have given too much power to their respective regions. This phenomenon, also known as a move towards a “Europe of the Regions” has put the European Union at jeopardy. Rather than supporting decentralization, Europe’s countries must implement policies that reduce the possibility of state fragmentation and maintain the European Union’s stability.