The dynamics for any moves for political independence in the 21st century are very different from those of the 20th. The aspirations of former colonies to independence are grinding to a halt; the rationale for selfdetermination is increasingly driven by strategic and pragmatic economic arguments, and not so much by nationalist appeals. Meanwhile, creative governance, fiscal vicissitudes and membership of supra-national bodies have ushered in examples of ‘sovereign states’ that approximate suzerain entities. Are independence movements active today aspiring to a different kind of sovereignty from their 20th century predecessors, one that secures autonomy at home, but which maintains a special relationship with a larger, richer, country? This collection critically reviews the origins, policies and aspirations of independence movements from the world’s subnational island jurisdictions, where a distinct and separate geography tends to facilitate the emergence of an equally distinct political and cultural identity. These island territories are the world’s top candidates for achieving sovereign status. And yet various factors are preventing them from making the final push towards independence.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics
1. Introduction 2. The long-term propensity for political affiliation in island microstates 3. Independence movements in the Caribbean: withering on the vine? 4. The experience of sovereignty in the Pacific: island states and political autonomy in the twenty-first century 5. Evolving approaches to sovereignty in the French Pacific 6. The Western Mediterranean islands and the many faces of independentism 7. Autonomy development, irredentism and secessionism in a Nordic context 8. The impact of the Scottish independence referendum on ethnoregionalist movements in the British Isles 9. From the wings to the footlights: the international relations of Europe’s smallest states 10. A different appetite for sovereignty? Independence movements in subnational island jurisdictions