Baldur Thorhallsson

Professor of Political Science, University of Iceland



Baldur Thorhallsson is a Professor of Political Science, and founder and Research Director for the Centre for Small State Studies, at the University of Iceland. His research focus has primarily been on small states, small state theory, European integration, the foreign policies of the Nordic states. His recent articles are included in The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Scandinavian Journal of History and Global Affairs. His latest edited books are titled Iceland’s Shelter-Seeking Behavior: From Settlement to Republic (Cornell University Press 2021), Small States and the New Security Environment (co-editor)(Springer 2021) and Small States and Shelter Theory: Iceland’s External Affairs (Routledge 2019).

He has been a visiting fellow and taught on small states at several universities, such as the Queen Mary University of London, the Military Academy of Lithuania, Williams College (MA, USA), Tallinn University of Technology and Paris-Sorbonne University–Paris 4. He holds a PhD (1999) and MA (1994) in Political Science from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom.

Title of Presentation

Shelter-seeking Behaviour of Small States in the International System
My presentation will be about a new small-state theory on the behavior of small states in the international system. Shelter theory is an attempt to bring together a number of important insights from other theories and research, which we have found inadequate on their own. We basically claim that traditional IR theories fail to grasp the broad domestic incentives behind small states’ alignment with larger states. Small states seek shelter provided by larger states and international organizations for domestic reasons as much as for international ones. Hence, small states seek political, economic and societal shelter provided by larger states and international organizations.
Publications from the Author