Handbook on the Politics of Small States
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Handbook on the Politics of Small States

Edited by Godfrey Baldacchino and Anders Wivel

Comprehensive and timely, this Handbook identifies the key characteristics, challenges and opportunities involved in the politics of small states across the globe today. Acknowledging the historical legacies behind these states, the chapters unpack the costs and benefits of different political models for small states.
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Chapter 22: Small, subnational jurisdictions

Gerard Prinsen


While many small sovereign states struggle to exert effective sovereignty, many small subnational jurisdictions display an increasing ability to act and engage on the international stage in ways that are quite independent from their metropolitan patron state. In addition, many of these subnational (and often island) jurisdictions acquire a growing degree of self-governance in domestic policy-making, often exceeding that of other subnational jurisdictions of the nation state. These two patterns suggest that sovereignty for small territories needs to be considered as an increasingly ambiguous concept, and perhaps also as a more explicit negotiated concept. Against that background, the experiences and strategies of small subnational jurisdictions may hold valuable lessons for small sovereign states.

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