Recording from the Book Launch: Small States and Shelter Theory

A recording from our Book Launch which we held at the University of Iceland. The aim of the seminar was to answer the question: Which states and international organizations have provided Iceland with political, economic and societal shelter in the past and which world actors will provide Iceland with shelter in the near future?
The importance of shelter for small states
Baldur Thorhallsson, Professor of Political Science, University of Iceland
Do the Nordic states and Nordic cooperation provide Iceland with shelter? Þorsteinn Kristinsson, PhD student, University of Lund, Sweden
Iceland’s relations with the United States:  Shelter or risk?
Sverrir Steinsson, researcher and lecturer at the University of Iceland
Iceland’s participation in the European project:  Shelter or trap?
Baldur Thorhallsson
Panel discussions
Do the Nordic states provide Iceland with shelter?
Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir, Minister for Education and Culture
Does the United States provide Iceland with shelter?
Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Alþingi.
Does participation in the European project, particularly Schengen, provide Iceland with shelter?
Georg Kr. Lárusson, Director General of the Icelandic Coast Guard
And speakers
Closing Address
Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister, will give the closing remarks and discuss the position of Iceland in the international system
Chair: Pia Hansson, Director of the Centre of small state studies and the Institute of International Affairs

Small States and Shelter Theory: Iceland’s External Affairs presents a new small state theory on the behaviour of small states in the international system and examines Iceland’s external affairs from 1940 to the present. The book is an outcome of an extensive research project on Iceland’s political, economic and societal relations with its larger neighbouring states and international organizations. The research was conducted under the leadership of Professor Baldur Thorhallsson at the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Iceland and a team of scholars at the Centre for Small State Studies.

The extend of political, economic and social shelter that Iceland has been provided by its larger neighbouring states and international organizations has been underestimated since 1940. For instance, Nordic cooperation has provided Iceland with essential societal, economic and political shelter and Iceland’s participation is the European project has provided greater societal shelter than anticipated by membership of the European Economic Area (EEA). Also, generally, societal shelter, in terms of transfer of norms and values, has been as of much importance as economic and political shelter.

Ever since the United States closed its military base in Keflavík 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. Moreover, many policy-makers in Iceland regard Brexit as an opportunity and hope to establish closer ties with Britain after it leaves the European Union. Nevertheless, Iceland has not been able to secure itself a comprehensive shelter similar to the shelter it was provided by the United States during the Cold War.

The book is published by Routledge  and can be bought in University Book Store at the University of Iceland and online. More information on the book

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