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Conference: Autonomy arrangements in the world, Babes-Bolyai University/ECMI/Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities

The Political Science Department of Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (, in cooperation with the European Center for Minority Issues, Flensburg, Germany ( and the Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (, invites submission from different disciplinary backgrounds and diverse methodological orientations, aiming to elaborate a compendium on the various autonomy arrangements which are operational in the world to date.

Though the various forms of territorial, functional and legal pluralism and sub-state governance are important institutional arrangements of accommodating national, ethnic, linguistic or religious communities across the world, the issue of autonomy remains highly controversial both in the scholarly literature, and in the political debate between dominant majorities and marginalized ethnocultural communities. In spite of salient contributions made in past years which shed light on the issue from the perspective of normative political philosophy, international law, constitutional and institutional analysis and a number of limited case-studies, no comprehensive collection of cases is available which could facilitate a more research-based typology, comparative analysis and informed assessment of the advantages and shortages of the existing autonomy set-ups. Another limitation of the existing literature is that most of the available in-depth case-studies focus on a limited number of well-known, “starred” autonomy arrangements, located mostly in the Western hemishpere.

The aim of this initiative is to invite scholars and researchers to engage in identifying, researching and describing in a standard format as many autonomy arrangements operational in the different regions of the world as possible, with special focus on the lesser-known cases.

The preliminary results of the endeavor will be discussed in a conference in Flensburg, Germany (most probably in September or October 2012), and the final version of the elaborated case-studies will be published in a representative compendium at a prestigious international publishing house in 2013.

We are interested in any institutionalized, legal or customary arrangements which come under at least one of the following headings:

            shared or negotiated sovereignty

            federalism (with relevance to the ethnic, national, linguistic or religious divisions)

            territorial autonomy

            cultural autonomy

            personal autonomy

            functional autonomy

            legislative power-sharing

            executive power-sharing


cantonal arrangements (with relevance to the ethnic, national, linguistic or religious divisions)

            tribal, aboriginal or native self-governments

            autonomy arrangements resulted from transitional justice

            non-democratic or authoritarian autonomy arrangements.

Each submitted abstract will have to address one single case, in a more detailed abstract format of minimum 1000 and maximum 1500 words. A biographic note of the author, including his/her institutional affiliation and some of the most relevant research results should also be provided.

The received abstracts will be screened, and those found suitable will be selected for the second phase of the project. If several proposals referring to the same case will be submitted, the most comprehensive and innovative approach will be chosen or, in justified case, joint research efforts will be recommended.

The final, expanded version of the analysis of each case, based on which the compendium entries will be elaborated, should include:

the history behind the arrangement, with a particular emphasis on the political context of the creation

            ethno-demographic data

            the current political context

            the legal and institutional frameworks of the arrangement

            assessment of advantages and shortages of the set-up

            prospects for the future.

The authors of the chosen abstracts will be announced latest by March 26, 2012, and will be invited to elaborate the compendium entry based on a specified format. The selected authors will also be invited to consider participation in the conference.

Deadline for the compendium entries: November 30, 2012.

Organizers :

Levente Salat (Babes-Bolyai University)

Tove Malloy (European Center for Minority Issues)

István Horváth (Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities)


Levente Salat

Associate Professor

Department of Political Sciences

Faculty of Political, Administration and Communication Sciences

Babes-Bolyai University

400132 Cluj-Napoca

str. Traian Mosoiu 71


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