I have sought to examine the nature and operation of politics in small independent communities in order to see what they have in common and what distinguishes them from larger political communities in the ways in which basic political activity is carried out.\ud The method has been, following a general introduction to the principles and problems involved in the study which are considered in Chapters One and Two, to present case studies of three selected areas - the Faroe Islands, Malta and the Isle of Man respectively.\ud As an initial focus for the case studies I have taken the assembly or parliament of the community concerned together with an outline of the basic legislative-executive relationship. From this institutionalised forum of local political activity, however, the study broadens its scope to take in the wider play of forces, beginning with an examination of the electoral system and spreading to the political cleavage system to take account of the political parties and major sectional interest groups. Particular emphasis is placed on the nature and ‘flavour’ of the local political environment of the case study areas. In this way I have attempted to link the basic political culture through the patterns of group representation and interest articulation to the central political institutions of the three communities.\ud The later chapters of the thesis are concerned with summarising and comparing the findings of the case studies and discuss the extent to which the features common to them distinguish such ‘small independent communities' as a specific category of polity
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