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Title: Islands and despots
Authors: Baldacchino, Godfrey
Keywords: Islands -- Politics and government
States, Small
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Citation: Baldacchino, G. (2012). Islands and despots. Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 50(1), 103-120.
Abstract: This paper challenges a conventional wisdom: that when discussing political systems, small is democratic. And yet, can there be paradises without serpents? The presumed manageability of small island spaces promotes and nurtures dispositions for domination and control over nature and society. In such dark circumstances, authoritarian rule is a more natural fit than democracy. By adopting an inter-disciplinary perspective, this paper argues that small island societies may be wonderful places to live in, as long as one conforms to a dominant cultural code. Should one deviate from expected and established practices, the threat of ostracism is immense. Formal democratic institutions may and often do exist, and a semblance of pluralism may be manifest, but these are likely to be overshadowed by a set of unitarist and homogenous values and practices to which many significant social players, in politics and civil society, subscribe (at least in public).
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