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African exceptions: democratic development in small island states

African exceptions: democratic development in small island states
African exceptions: democratic development in small island states
Small island states are much more likely to have democratic regimes than large continental states. This trend also holds across Africa, where the five island states with populations of 1.5 million or less are all rated at least “partly free” by Freedom House. In this article we explore what it is about being a small island state that might explain this trend. Building on studies from other small island states, we find that the interaction between the two contextual factors is key to explaining their diversion from mainland trends in the African context. Specifically, “smallness” leads to closer links between citizens and politicians in addition to more effective service delivery, while “islandness” promotes community cohesion and provides a buffer against instability and conflict in neighbouring states. This results in a positive feedback loop that guards against authoritarian excess. Our focus on population size and geography thus adds to existing studies of the contextual drivers of African democratization.

Sanches, Edalina Rodrigues
bb9b1e08-b3dd-4ba2-8ffb-eae9b51f9a6d
Cheeseman, Nic
fa6ddc43-6d89-40fe-8852-3d4e35daa49e
Veenendaal, Wouter
230cf0c6-70cb-465d-8664-2ec9798bcdb0
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2
Sanches, Edalina Rodrigues
bb9b1e08-b3dd-4ba2-8ffb-eae9b51f9a6d
Cheeseman, Nic
fa6ddc43-6d89-40fe-8852-3d4e35daa49e
Veenendaal, Wouter
230cf0c6-70cb-465d-8664-2ec9798bcdb0
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2

Sanches, Edalina Rodrigues, Cheeseman, Nic, Veenendaal, Wouter and Corbett, Jack (2021) African exceptions: democratic development in small island states. Journal of International Relations and Development. (In Press)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Small island states are much more likely to have democratic regimes than large continental states. This trend also holds across Africa, where the five island states with populations of 1.5 million or less are all rated at least “partly free” by Freedom House. In this article we explore what it is about being a small island state that might explain this trend. Building on studies from other small island states, we find that the interaction between the two contextual factors is key to explaining their diversion from mainland trends in the African context. Specifically, “smallness” leads to closer links between citizens and politicians in addition to more effective service delivery, while “islandness” promotes community cohesion and provides a buffer against instability and conflict in neighbouring states. This results in a positive feedback loop that guards against authoritarian excess. Our focus on population size and geography thus adds to existing studies of the contextual drivers of African democratization.

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Anonymous Manuscript File 16-03-2021 - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 17 March 2021

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 447976
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/447976
PURE UUID: 6488adbf-2e2c-4588-aac6-bcbd88ef8239
ORCID for Jack Corbett: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2005-7162

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Date deposited: 29 Mar 2021 16:36
Last modified: 17 Mar 2022 05:01

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Contributors

Author: Edalina Rodrigues Sanches
Author: Nic Cheeseman
Author: Wouter Veenendaal
Author: Jack Corbett ORCID iD

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