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The influence of small states: how Bhutan succeeds in influencing global sustainability governance

Theys, Sarina and Rietig, Katharina (2020) The influence of small states: how Bhutan succeeds in influencing global sustainability governance. International Affairs, 96 (6). pp. 1603-1622. ISSN 0020-5850

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How do small states succeed in influencing global policies? Traditional International Relations theories highlight the vulnerability and limited capacity of small states and suggest that the scope for these states to influence global policies is limited. However, recent literature on small states in global governance has challenged this view. Studies have found that in the context of international organizations, participation in coalitions and favourable decision-making structures, among others, contribute to explaining the influence of small states in global governance. While these factors are indeed relevant, they only partly explain how small states are able to influence global policies. Drawing on in-depth qualitative research exploring the influence of small states, this article advances understandings of how small states can influence global governance and international negotiations. Focusing on one small state, the article analyses how Bhutan, through policy entrepreneur Jigme Y. Thinley, challenged fundamental ideas about what constitutes development by placing happiness on the global agenda. We contribute unique data on the influence of Bhutan and an analytical framework on the influence of small states, outlining a process of how small states can influence global policy despite their structural weaknesses. The framework consists of an attribute in the form of policy entrepreneur(s) who speak and act on behalf of the state, four strategies comprising the marketing of the state, venue shopping, facilitating learning and coalition networks, and two framework conditions, including windows of opportunity and a conducive decision-making process.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: School of Law and Social Sciences (SoLaSS)
Depositing User: Fulori Nainoca - Waqairagata
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2021 11:38
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2021 11:38

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