Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Small Jurisdictions and International Relations

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT International Relations

DESCRIPTION This course critically explores the theory and practice of small/micro (often island) states and other non-sovereign jurisdictions (such as federacies) in the contemporary international system. Their historical origins, their emergence a sovereign states in the period of decolonization, their role in regional and international fora (including the EU and the UN), and their behaviour in relation to such issues as economic and environmental vulnerability, security and military threat, (para)diplomacy and externality management. Specific attention will be paid to such territories as Malta, Cyprus, Iceland, Aland, Bermuda, Luxembourg and Mauritius.

By the end of this short course, students would be able to: critique the meaning and implications of size in international relations; appreciate different historical episodes that illustrate and capture the power, and weakness, of small states in the international political economy; recognize the diplomatic potential and limitations of Malta as a small island jurisdiction; understand the relationship between diplomacy, paradiplomacy and political geography, especially in relation to various island jurisdictions, singly and generally.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Baldacchino, G. (2010) Island Enclaves: Offshoring, Creative Governance and Subnational Island Jurisdictions, Kingston and Montreal, Canada, McGill -Queen's University Press.

Baldacchino, G. (2009) ‘Thucydides or Kissinger? A Critical Review of Smaller State Diplomacy’ in Andrew F. Cooper & Timothy M. Shaw (eds.) The Diplomacies of Small States: Between Vulnerability and Resilience, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 21-40.

Bartmann, Barry (1992) Saltwater Frontiers: Jurisdiction as a Resource for Small Islands, Charlottetown, Canada: Institute of Island Studies, University of Prince Edward Island. Available at:

Briguglio, L. (1995) Small Island Developing States and their Economic Vulnerabilities’, World Development, Vol. 23, No. 9, pp. 1615-1632.

Commonwealth Secretariat (1985) Vulnerability: Small States in the Global Society, London, Commonwealth Secretariat.

Cooper, A. F. and Shaw, T. M. (2009) ‘Editorial Introduction’ in Andrew F. Cooper & Timothy M. Shaw (eds.) The Diplomacies of Small States: Between Vulnerability and Resilience, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-20.

Crowards, Tom (2002) Defining the Category of ‘Small’ States, Journal of International Development, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 143-179.

Diggines, Christopher E. (1985) ‘The Problems of Small States’, The Round Table, No. 295, pp. 191-205.

Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (OECD):,2987,en_32250379_32235720_1_1_1_1_1,00.html.
Goetschel, Laurent (1998) Small States inside and outside the European Union, London, Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Griffith, M. & V. Inniss (1992) ‘Environmental Diplomacy: An Effective Tool for small island states to define a more dynamic role in international environmental-development negotiations’, Bulletin of Eastern Caribbean Affairs, Vol. 7, Nos. 1-2, pp. 43-54.

Harden, Sheila (1985) Small is Dangerous: Micro-states in a Macro-World, London, Frances Pinter.

Lewis, J. (1990) ‘The Vulnerability of Small Island States to sea level rise: The need for holistic strategies’, Disasters, Vol. 14, pp. 241-248.

Lewis, Vaughan A. (2009) ‘Foreword’ in Andrew F. Cooper & Timothy M. Shaw (eds.) The Diplomacies of Small States: Between Vulnerability and Resilience, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Neumann, Iver B. & S. Gstohl (2004) Lilliputians in Gulliver’s World? Small States in International Relations, Iceland, Centre for Small State Studies.

Quester, George H. (1983) ‘Trouble in the islands: defending the Micro-states’, International Security, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 160-175

Sutton, Paul & Anthony Payne (1993) ‘Lilliput under Threat: the Security Problems of Small Island and Enclave Developing States’, Political Studies, Vol. 41, pp. 579-593.

Wriggins, Howard W. (1975) ‘To the Highest Bidder: Malta, Britain and NATO’, The Round Table, April, pp. 167–185.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 40%
Presentation Yes 60%

LECTURER/S Godfrey Baldacchino

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.