Development Of Small-State Studies Essay

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Examination of the development of small-state studies:
Can we use the concept of “size” as an analytical tool?

Introduction

As Icelanders have learned during the past few years in relation to the ongoing EU accession debate, the studies of small states in international relations is an important tool to realize how much influence a small state is capable of. This measurement of capacity is important because without it, small players on the enormous field of international cooperation could not effectively measure its influence. This would in turn, for instance, make the Icelandic decision of EU accession much more difficult to make.
The studies of small states have always been an important one, but at times grossly overlooked. As is with most studies, to understand the studies of small states it is necessary to look at the history and development of the field. As mentioned in the title it is also crucial to realize if, and then how one can use the concept of size as an analytical tool. To do this one must also look at what variables control the definition of small states.

Small states studies through the years

The studies of international relations, as the name implies, looks at international cooperation, or at times, the lack of cooperation between various states. It defines the role of power in these relations and what this power is, how it is accumulated and what its purpose, or role, is in international relations. Surely one might say here, that size does matter. In this sense, being a big nation brings power, whereas a small country is seen as powerless, or at the very least, less powerful.[1]

If judged by population, at least 20 of the 27 member states of the European Union could be categorized as small states, three of these 20 could furthermore be categorized as microstates.[2] In addition, all EU-applying states excluding Turkey are small states as regarded to population[3], and of the 192 member states of the United Nations most are in...

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