This paper examines the concept of shelter in the small state literature and the case of Iceland. It looks specifically at Iceland as an example of a state that in the recent financial crisis discovered it had inadequate political and economic shelter. This paper is in three sections, the first section deals with the concept of shelter and its place within existing international relations theory and small state literature. The second part of the paper analyses Iceland and how Iceland has sought shelter and why, in the banking crisis, this shelter failed the state. The third section looks at small states across Europe, both within and outside the EU, and the types of shelter these states have and why they have chosen these types of shelter. The paper then concludes by analysing what causes states to seek particular sheltering patterns and if it is possible to generalise the different inputs that will affect state’s shelter seeking behaviour. Finally the paper returns to Iceland and applies the theoretical conclusions to the empirical reality in Iceland today.
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