Simpson, Archie W.

Dr. Archie William Simpson received his PhD. in Political Studies from the University of Aberdeen.

European Micro-States as Disfunctional States in the International System: A Theory of Disfunctionality
2015 0-7734-3503-4
This study is concerned with European micro-states and their continual survival in the international system. Micro-states are sovereign states with populations up to one million people. The study of micro-states is much neglected within the discipline of International Relations and yet there are a wide number of very small states in the contemporary international system. The existence of micro-states raises a number of serious questions involving the granting of statehood, recognition of sovereignty and the ability of micro-states to maintain their presence in the international system.

This study begins with some background into small state theories, writings on micro-states and debates concerning sovereignty. It is argued that being sovereign members of the international system does not fully explain the extantism of the micro-states but that a functional account can. A theory of disfunctionality is outlined prior to a review of empirical evidence in support of this framework.

It is argued that a functional account of the state is central to the survival of European micro-states. In particular, it is suggested that micro-states ‘contract-out’ important state functions to others in the international system to ensure their continued survival. From this proposition, a theory of disfunctionality is outlined. This theory incorporates a functional matrix of statehood, the impact of small size upon states, dependency upon others and that the logic of appropriateness is in play for the micro-states.

The conclusion indicates that it is possible to identify three types of states in the contemporary system: functional states, dysfunctional states and non-function states. The final part of the study also suggests that the question of statehood is somewhat erratic and that a proliferation of micro-states may be expected in the 21st century.