This paper explores the linkages between decentralisation and social cohesion within communities of differing religious backgrounds. It builds on the case of post-Mubarak Egypt, where an increased but informal devolution of power to manage relations between the majority Muslim and minority Christian populations has not alleviated community tensions. The paper uses a power analysis framework to understand the impact of devolution onsocial cohesion.
- Key messages from the research include:devolution of power, if not accompanied by measures to ensure inclusive politics, may undermine social cohesion and increase violence against minorities
- the emerging balance of power after the revolution has increased tensions between different religious groups and eventually undermined social cohesion
- in the post-Mubarak context, the use of informal conflict resolution mechanisms and other practices associated with decentralisation have further undermined social cohesion