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“Everybody knows everybody”: practising politics in the Pacific Islands

“Everybody knows everybody”: practising politics in the Pacific Islands In contrast to the disadvantage that economists and international donors often see as stemming from smallness, political scientists have a relatively equivocal view of the normative implications of size on democratic performance. Largely, studies interested in the correlation between size and democratization focus on the persistence and quality (or depth) of democratic norms and claim either that small is beautiful or that it is despotic. In this article I take a different approach. Rather than attempting to measure the impact of size on democratic outcomes, I provide a nuanced description of how it shapes political life by drawing on the views, experiences, and reflections of politicians in the Pacific Islands. Based on this “insider view” of politics, I highlight the centrality of family and kin to political dynamics and discuss their relevance to ideas like consensus and oversight, and persistent critiques about ostracism and corruption. I conclude by arguing that smallness provides mixed blessings – it is neither entirely beautiful nor endemically despotic. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Democratization Taylor & Francis

“Everybody knows everybody”: practising politics in the Pacific Islands

Democratization , Volume 22 (1): 22 – Jan 2, 2015
22 pages

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References (77)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2013 Taylor & Francis
ISSN
1743-890X
eISSN
1351-0347
DOI
10.1080/13510347.2013.811233
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In contrast to the disadvantage that economists and international donors often see as stemming from smallness, political scientists have a relatively equivocal view of the normative implications of size on democratic performance. Largely, studies interested in the correlation between size and democratization focus on the persistence and quality (or depth) of democratic norms and claim either that small is beautiful or that it is despotic. In this article I take a different approach. Rather than attempting to measure the impact of size on democratic outcomes, I provide a nuanced description of how it shapes political life by drawing on the views, experiences, and reflections of politicians in the Pacific Islands. Based on this “insider view” of politics, I highlight the centrality of family and kin to political dynamics and discuss their relevance to ideas like consensus and oversight, and persistent critiques about ostracism and corruption. I conclude by arguing that smallness provides mixed blessings – it is neither entirely beautiful nor endemically despotic.

Journal

DemocratizationTaylor & Francis

Published: Jan 2, 2015

Keywords: small island states; small island developing states; microstates; Pacific Islands; democratization

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