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The big smallness of Tuvalu

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This paper considers the question of how it is that the independent Polynesian microstate of Tuvalu has managed to place itself at the centre of worldwide discussion about global climate change and possible sea level rise. It argues that much of the publicity Tuvalu has accrued derives from its leaders’ long established statecraft in which assertions of agency and claims to vulnerability can be deployed in complementary ways to further Tuvalu’s interests. The management of such statecraft reveals the ways in which ‘smallness’ can underpin and galvanise global messages.
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Keywords: Tuvalu; agency; climate change; size; vulnerability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 April 2015

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  • The half-yearly journal Global Environment: A Journal of History and Natural and Social Sciences acts as a forum and echo chamber for ongoing studies on the environment and world history, with special focus on modern and contemporary topics. Our intent is to gather and stimulate scholarship that, despite a diversity of approaches and themes, shares an environmental perspective on world history in its various facets, including economic development, social relations, production government, and international relations.
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