GPS SEMINAR: Small States and Shelter Theory: Iceland’s Shelter-Seeking Behaviour

Baldur Thorhallsson, Professor, Dept. of Political Science, University of Iceland

Coffee and breakfast will be served at the beginning of the seminar

 Ever since the United States closed its military base in Iceland and refused to help Iceland out during the 2008 economic crisis, Iceland has been seeking shelter by other world actors. Iceland works closely with NATO and its neighbouring states on security and defence, puts greater emphasis on Nordic cooperation, was the first European country to make a free trade agreement with China and applied for membership of the European Union, yet later put its application on hold. Moreover, many policy-makers in Iceland regard Brexit as an opportunity and hope to establish closer ties with Britain after it leaves the EU. 

The seminar will examine the importance for small states to seek political, economic and societal shelter provided by larger states and regional and international organisations. It will discuss a new small state theory – the shelter theory – on the behaviour of small states in the international system, recently published in the book titled Small States and Shelter Theory: Iceland’s External Affairs.

Baldur Thorhallsson is a professor at the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Iceland. Thorhallsson is also the Jean Monnet Chair in European Studies and Programme and Research Director at the Centre for Small States at the University of Iceland. His research focuses primarily on small state studies, European integration and Iceland’s foreign policy. He has published extensively in international journals, contributed to several academic books and written three  books on small states in Europe, Iceland and European integration; Small States and Shelter Theory (Routledge 2018), Iceland and European Integration: On the Edge (Routledge 2004) and The Role of Small States in the European Union (Ashgate 2000). Baldur Thorhallsson holds a PhD (1999) and MA (1994) in Political Science from the University of Essex.