Decentralisation and Social Cohesion in Religiously Heterogeneous Societies in Transition: A Case Study from Egypt

Published on 10 May 2013

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


Mariz Tadros

Director (CREID)

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published by
Tadros, M.


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