Workshops

In order to further develop the methodological outline printed above, the group will organise a series of workshops highlighting the connections between small state (self-)identification and foreign policy action. These workshops will revolve around the following themes:

I: Small state self-perceptions. Concepts, actors, sources: University of Amsterdam, 9-10 April 2018

Our inaugural workshop will be devoted to operationalising the key conceptual basis for our network: small state self-perceptions. Participants will reflect on which actors were primarily responsible for elucidating different notions of smallness in various national contexts throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century and the availability of sources allowing for the analyse the nexus between small state self-perceptions and foreign policy. We will also discuss the transnational nature of small state self-perceptions: to what extent do notions of ‘size’ and associated state behaviours cross borders? During this methodological workshop the core members of the network will formulate the working hypotheses and methodologies for this project, which will be tested in the following two workshops.

Programme

II: Internationalism: University of Aarhus, 28-29 November 2018

This workshop is designed to test our conceptual and methodological framework using historical case studies will revolve around small state internationalism since 1814. Historians of international institutions have taken note of the prominent role played by small state agents in global and regional bodies such as the Concert of Europe, the League of Nations, the United Nations, NATO, and the European, African, and South American Unions. Traditionally, small state participation in these institutions have been understood as a defence mechanism: by influencing the rules and norms of the international system, small states have sought to secure their positions via ‘softer’ means than the power-political tools available to great powers. By highlighting self-identification processes related to international institutions through the transnational networks of e.g. professional legal associations and women’s movements, this workshop will address new perspectives on the key question of why small state actors have identified so readily with these specific aspects of modern internationalism. During this network meeting, the core members will discuss the first outline of the network’s Horizon2020 grant application.

III: Neutrality and neutralism: University of Iceland, 27-28 June 2019

Our conceptual notions will be further tested in a workshop dealing with small state neutrality and neutralism. Many smaller European states opted for neutrality at crucial junctions since 1814, and even when part of larger blocs their actions have often been characterised by aloofness. Traditionally, historians have held that that small equals weak, and weak states do not pursue an active foreign policy but prefer to abstain. Most interpretations of neutrality follow this mode of thinking, focusing on neutrality as a legal concept designed to limit the interaction of smaller states with warring great powers. This workshop will focus on neutrality as part of small countries’ (self-) identifications to reveal contesting notions of its legal, political and cultural implications, obscured in traditional national approaches. During this network meeting, core members will discuss the first drafts of the Horizon2020 application.

IV: Finalising the Bigger Picture on Small States, University of Iceland, 25 June 2020

During this final event the network’s core members will meet for a two-day workshop to discuss the implications of the previous workshops’ results for the core methodological and theoretical concepts, select papers from workshops II and III for inclusion in the network’s publications, plan follow-up meetings after 2020, and discuss drafts of the Horizon2020 grant application.