Small States: Concepts and Theories

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This chapter provides an overview of research on small state politics and discusses the dilemmas, challenges and opportunities of small states. The chapter discusses definitions of small states focusing on small states as non-great powers, as defined by the material capabilities and as political constructs. Baldacchino and Wivel present a pragmatic working definition identifying two characteristics of small states: 1) small states are states that are characterized by the limited capacity of their political, economic and administrative systems, and 2) small states typically find themselves as the weaker part in asymmetric relationships and unable to change power configuration and its institutional expression. They start from this definition to draw the contours of the political space inhabited by small states by identifying three dilemmas of small state politics in order to briefly identify some of the challenges that these states share because they are small. They explain the structure of the book and sum up the major findings and draw lessons from the analyses of the book to identify a number of promising future research trajectories on the politics of small states before the chapter is concluded. The chapter is available for download at the homepage of the publisher Edward Elgar
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on the Politics of Small States
EditorsGodfrey Baldacchino, Anders Wivel
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9781788112925
ISBN (Electronic)9781788112932
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ID: 239077138