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Ethnic diversity and local governance quality

The case of Opole Province in Poland


Wojciech Opioła and Bartosz Czepil

The book is devoted to relations between the ethnic diversity and the quality of governance at the local level. Opolskie province in Poland is a case for explaining this interdependence. That is because of its history of multiculturalism and the present state of its ethnic diversity. The important feature of this region is, that nearly half of the communes is ethnically homogenous when the rest is ethnically diversified with a strong position of German and Silesian minorities. The preliminary assumption was, that the quality of governance would be higher in communes characterized by ethnic diversity. On the basis of the nested analysis method, authors conducted quantitative and qualitative analysis.  
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drawn from both of them are presented in the subsequent paragraphs.

The conducted quantitative analysis indicates that there are no clear relations between ethnic diversity and the holistically perceived quality of governance, i.e. in light of our data, governance quality in ethnically diversified communes is not higher than that in the other communes. Speaking of the holistically perceived ←173 | 174→quality of governance, we mean the total value of a particular commune’s governance quality index proposed by the authors and based on five principles. Thus, it can be concluded that the authors’ hypothesis was not confirmed. However, if we take into consideration the particular sub-indexes of governance quality and their relations to ethnic diversity identified in both the qualitative analysis and the case studies, it seems that ethnic diversity plays a certain role. In comparison to the ethnically homogeneous communes, the ethnically diversified ones are characterized by a higher level of participation. The qualitative analysis shows that it is first of all the effect of the functioning of active non-governmental organizations, with the special role of the Social and Cultural Association of Germans as a multilevel, province-wide structure with strong foundations at the level of communes and villages in the form of commune boards and German friendship circles. The local structures of the Social and Cultural Association of Germans constitute a platform for local integration in the social, cultural, and political dimensions. The higher level of participation may also result from the minority’s greater attachment to little homelands...

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