EPILOGUE: Size matters: Small nations’ existential pursuits of power, happiness and purpose

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


This chapter argues that the predicament of small nations unearths the human condition like very few socio-political realities can. Small nations are thus a prime subject of inquiry for what I term “Political Existentialism,” fusing the existential (life/death) with the existentialist: mortal, free humans’ search for meaning in, of, by and for, politics. Specifically, I contend, “size matters” materially, emotionally and morally. Small nations, more than any other nations, are prone to grasp, thus dread, the three existentialist facets of death: frailty, fatalism and futility, which they address by pursuing power, happiness and purpose, respectively. This epilogue first outlines a Sisyphean model of small nations and then expounds on each of these three entwining facets: (1) the fear of frailty drives small nations to pursue “pathetic power”-not merely the “power of the powerless” but powerlessness as power; (2) fatalism can make people turn away from freedom (read choice) onto “bad faith,” partly in order to boost their happiness; and (3) facing not merely the inevitability of death but the availability of suicide (“auto-politicide”), small nations search for meaning-a purposeful, justifiable existence.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA New Approach to Global Studies from the Perspective of Small Nations
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781003814412
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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