Livia Rohrbach defends her PhD thesis at the Department of Political Science

Livia RohrbachCandidate

Livia Rohrbach


"Beyond intractability? Territorial solutions to self-determination conflicts".
The thesis is available as an e-book via Academic books.

Time and venue

Thursday 4 June 2020 at 14:00.
Link to attend the PhD defence 
Password: 960422 

Please note, the defence will be held in Zoom and will be recorded.
The recording will be publicly available through our website.

Assessment committee

  • Professor Jacob Gerner Hariri, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen (chair)
  • Associate Professor Manuel Vogt, Department of Political Science, University College London
  • Associate Professor Hanne Fjelde, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University


Conflicts over issues related to self-determination are a defining feature of politics today. In this dissertation, I examine the potential use of territorial arrangements as a tool to resolve, mitigate and prevent such disputes from escalating into violent conflict. Such arrangements are amongst the most common institutional prescriptions for the management and accommodation of diversity in multiethnic states, yet there is a lack of clear evidence regarding their actual consequences. Rather than approaching the question from an ‘either/or’ perspective, I examine conditions under which such arrangements are successful. I use a multi-methods approach, combining large-N statistical analysis with in-depth case studies. The empirical evidence presented is based on a new dataset on territorial self-governance arrangements, covering both democratic and non-democratic countries, as well as original data collected during field research in Ethiopia.

Most importantly, the findings of this dissertation highlight that whether territorial autonomy ‘works’ ultimately depends on a range of conditions, some of them related to institutional design, others to so-called extraconstitutional factors outside the institutional blueprint. It also serves as a reminder that self-determination disputes are not purely ‘domestic’ by highlighting the often-overlooked international component to such disputes, while at the same time pointing out important consequences of autonomy arrangements for local conflict dynamics, thus highlighting multi-level aspects of autonomy. Taking into account how all these factors together are important markers of success sheds new light on the potential of territorial arrangements as solutions to contemporary self-determination conflicts.