The rationale for treating island development as a distinct subfield of regional development research and policy is summarized. The challenges, disadvantages, and advantages characteristics of small-island societies are outlined. The key role of transportation in island development is described and dominant analytical and norm-building models of island development are presented. These models are then juxtaposed from a perspective of uneven development, suggesting how they intrinsically relate and connect rather than stand as isolated options on a menu of development paths and policy directions. Finally, a warning is raised against two thought traps in island studies: small islands as microcosms of the larger world, and the local trap of exaggerated isolation and essential difference.
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