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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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Persisting Against All Odds

Persisting Against All Odds

(p.165) 8 Persisting Against All Odds
Democracy in Small States

Jack Corbett

Wouter Veenendaal

Oxford University Press

Chapter 8 pulls together the examples infused throughout the body of the book to show that, despite the odds, political regimes in small states—the vast majority of which are democratic—can be both remarkably adaptive and remarkably resilient. A close examination of political practices demonstrates how personalization and informal politics is the key to explaining both successes and failures. This argument has particular relevance in small states where there is increased social proximity. However, it also has wider implications for scholars of comparative politics and democratic consolidation in particular where the recent tendency has been to downplay the role of intentional agents in theoretical explanations. Most importantly, it provides a nuanced and clearer-eyed analysis of the strengths and limitations of personality-driven politics, a phenomenon of growing importance to democracies across the globe. By studying politics in small states, something is learned about large states, too.

Keywords:   democracy, comparative politics, democratization, personalization, informal politics, small states

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