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Power sharing is a strategy for resolving disputes over who should have the most powerful position in the social hierarchy. Instead of fighting over who should have power over whom, power sharing relies upon the joint exercise of power. If conflicts can be reframed to focus on how such power sharing might take place, they can become much more constructive. Power sharing can take a variety of forms. One approach is to grant minority groups autonomy over some--or all--aspects of their own affairs. This autonomy can be limited to cultural issues: religion and education for example, or it can be extended to cover the social, economic, and political spheres as well. At the extreme, it can take the form of granting complete independence and allowing a minority group to form its own sovereign nation state. Another approach to power sharing is more integrative. Governance is handled by leaders from each group who work jointly and cooperatively to make decisions and resolve conflicts. This approach relies on ethnically neutral decision making and public policies. Typically the electoral system will be structured to encourage multi-ethnic coalitions within the political system. Implementing either approach is usually difficult, as groups holding power are reluctant to relinquish that power, and groups without it tend to want massive change to occur more quickly than the dominant group is likely to accept. For this reason, demands for power-sharing and autonomy often ferment conflict more than they resolve it. However, if minority groups can frame their demands in a way that emphasizes joint benefit, and focus on developing a mutually acceptable way of achieving self-determination for all groups, they are likely to meet with more success than they are if they take a more combative or competitive approach

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Q: What is meant by power sharing?
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