Small State Studies: Austria’s Bid to get Elected on the UNSC


  • Baldur Thorhallsson University of Island
  • Thomas Stude Vidal Faculty of Political Science, University of Iceland



This article provides an overview of small state studies and offers a comparative study of the respective 2008 United Nations Security Council campaigns by Austria and Iceland. It examines how quantitative and qualitative characteristics between small states play a decisive role in mounting successful UNSC bids. The analysis indicates that Austria’s ‘smallness’ did not significantly impact the country’s ability to garner votes towards a seat, and that its size and status was utilised in concurrence with skilful diplomacy to meet objectives. Iceland, on the other hand, was thwarted not only by its limited size, but also by a lack of political and diplomatic commitment to the cause, and an inability to ‘absorb’ an untimely exogenous shock that damaged the country’s reputation.


  • Baldur Thorhallsson, University of Island
    Professor in Political Science and Research Director of the Centre for Small State Studies