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An emerging “Islandian” sovereignty of non-self-governing islands
by Gerard Prinsen and Severine Blaise
(International Journal: Canada’s Journal of Global Policy Analysis, February 16, 2017)


Comparative analyses have found that non-self-governing islands tend to have much better development indicators than sovereign islands. Perhaps unsurprisingly, since 1983 no non-self-governing island has acquired political independence. This paper argues that rather than merely maintaining the status quo with their colonial metropoles, non-self-governing islands are actively creating a new form of sovereignty. This creation of an “Islandian” sovereignty takes place against the backdrop of debates on the relevance of classic Westphalian sovereignty and emerging practices of Indigenous sovereignty. This paper reviews global research on the sovereignty of islands and from this review, develops an analytical framework of five mechanisms that drive the emerging Islandian sovereignty. This framework is tested and illustrated with a case study of the negotiations about sovereignty between New Caledonia and its colonial metropole, France.

Be sure to check out this presentation by Alison Lotti, John Overton, Gerard Prinsen and Elizbeth Worliczek on “Inter-island rivalry in the Pacific.”


Hosted by the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability,
University of Prince Edward Island/University of Malta,
and The University of St Martin, Philipsburg


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