Grassroots democracy and local government in Northern Syria: the case of democratic confederalism

Nathalie Colasanti, Rocco Frondizi, Joyce Liddle, Marco Meneguzzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides a case study regarding an innovative model of grass-roots democracy, called democratic confederalism, which is currently being implemented in Northern Syria. The difference between democratic confederalism and previous experiments with grass-roots democracy is that its evolutionary pattern aims to include heterogeneous local communities living in the same territories, with the objective of becoming an administrative model for the whole Syrian country, without shattering its national constitution. In fact, the evolution of the political and administrative system and the introduction of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria were specifically aimed at including all ethnicities and not focusing on the Kurdish population only. Following a literature review aimed at defining the theoretical background of democratic confederalism, the case study is presented. Data collection occurred through semi-structured interviews and informal talks with key stakeholders in the Kurdish movement; the findings and main implications of the model are described and analysed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-825
JournalLocal Government Studies
Issue number6
Early online date20 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018


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