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Democracy in Small StatesPersisting Against All Odds$
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Jack Corbett and Wouter Veenendaal

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198796718

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198796718.001.0001

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The Small State Challenge

The Small State Challenge

(p.1) 1 The Small State Challenge
Democracy in Small States

Jack Corbett

Wouter Veenendaal

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 introduces the main arguments of the book; outlines the approach, method, and data; defines key terms; and provides a chapter outline. Global theories of democratization have systematically excluded small states, which make up roughly 20 per cent of countries. These cases debunk mainstream theories of why democratization succeeds or fails. This book brings small states into the comparative politics fold for the first time. It is organized thematically, with each chapter tackling one of the main theories from the democratization literature. Different types of data are examined—case studies and other documentary evidence, interviews and observation. Following an abductive approach, in addition to examining the veracity of existing theory, each chapter is also used to build an explanation of how democracy is practiced in small states. Specifically, we highlight how small state politics is shaped by personalization and informal politics, rather than formal institutional design.

Keywords:   democratization, comparative politics, personalization, informal politics, political institutions, small states

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