The existence of the European micro-states is a puzzling phenomen. This study introduces the concept of 'disfunctionality' as it relates to those states whose extreme smallness leads to a particular configuration regarding their ability to perform state related functions. This study illuminates new insights and perspectives with regard to the 44 micro-states and their contribution to international relations. 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.
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Dr. Archie William Simpson received his Ph.D. in Political Studies from the University of Aberdeen.
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