Small states in world politics

The story of small state survival, 1648-2016

By Matthias Maass

Small states in world politics


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8273-3
  • Pages: 280
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: November 2017
  • BIC Category: International Relations, Nationalism, International relations, General & world history, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Nationalism & Patriotism, HISTORY / World, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General, Humanities / European history, Society & social sciences / Nationalism, Humanities / General & world history, Society & social sciences / International relations


What is the story behind the paradoxical survival of small and weak states in a world of great powers and crude power politics? And what explains the dramatic rise and fall in the number of states overtime, following no consistent trend and not showing an immediately obvious direction or pattern? The answers lie at the system-level: Small states survival is shaped by the international states system. Small state survival and proliferation is determined first and foremost by features of and dynamics created at the states system. As the states system changes and evolves the chances for small states to survive or proliferate change as well. In fact, a quantitive investigation confirms this, showing that over the course of more than 3½ centuries, the number of small states did fluctuate widely and at times dramatically.


1 Introducing small state survival as a historical phenomenon
2 Defining and quantifying the small state
3 Power politics and small state survival: the classic balance of power, 1648-1814
4 Small state survival in a system of collective hegemony: the concert system, 1815-1918
5 Small state survival and proliferation in twentieth-century systems of collective security and global governance
6 The story of small state survival: past, present, and future


Matthias Maass is Associate Professor of International Relations at Yonsei University's Graduate School of International Studies in Seoul, Korea

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