From tourist paradises to immigrant detention camps, from offshore finance centres to strategic military bases, islands offer distinct identities and spaces in an increasingly homogenous and placeless world. The study of islands is important, for its own sake and on its own terms. But so is the notion that the island is a laboratory, a place for developing and testing ideas, and from which lessons can be learned and applied elsewhere.

The Routledge International Handbook of Island Studies is a global, research-based and pluri-disciplinary overview of the study of islands. Its chapters deal with the contribution of islands to literature, social science and natural science, as well as other applied areas of inquiry. The collated expertise of interdisciplinary and international scholars offers unique insights: individual chapters dwell on geomorphology, zoology and evolutionary biology; the history, sociology, economics and politics of island communities; tourism, wellbeing and migration; as well as island branding, resilience and ‘commoning’. The text also offers pioneering forays into the study of islands that are cities, along rivers or artificial constructions.

This insightful Handbook will appeal to geographers, environmentalists, sociologists, political scientists and, one hopes, some of the 600 million or so people who live on islands or are interested in the rich dynamics of islands and island life.

part I|150 pages

Foundations of islands and island life

chapter 1|18 pages

Definitions and typologies

ByStephen A. Royle, Laurie Brinklow

chapter 2|31 pages

Locations and classifications

ByChristian Depraetere, Arthur Dahl

chapter 3|20 pages

Origins and environments

ByPatrick D. Nunn, Roselyn Kumar

chapter 4|29 pages


ByAndrew J. Berry, Rosemary G. Gillespie

chapter 5|20 pages


ByDiana M. Percy, Quentin C. B. Cronk, Stephen Blackmore

chapter 6|30 pages


ByR. J. ‘Sam’ Berry, Adrian M. Lister

part II|292 pages

The human world of islands

chapter 7|20 pages

History and colonisation

ByRobert Aldrich, Miranda Johnson

chapter 8|29 pages


ByEdward Warrington, David Milne

chapter 9|45 pages

Economics and development

ByGeoff Bertram, Bernard Poirine

chapter 10|14 pages


BySonya Graci, Patrick T. Maher

chapter 11|18 pages


ByJohn Connell

chapter 12|17 pages

Health and wellbeing

ByRobin Kearns, Tara Coleman

chapter 13|16 pages

Literature and the literary gaze

ByElizabeth McMahon, Bénédicte André

chapter 14|12 pages

Cities and urbanisation

ByAdam Grydehøj, Ramanathan Swaminathan

chapter 15|15 pages

Rivers and estuaries

ByMitul Baruah, Jenia Mukherjee

chapter 16|14 pages

Society and community

ByGodfrey Baldacchino, Wouter Veenendaal

chapter 17|15 pages

Resilience and sustainability

ByIlan Kelman, James E. Randall

chapter 18|13 pages

Brands and branding

ByGodfrey Baldacchino, Susie Khamis

chapter 19|11 pages

Commoning and alternative development

ByEric Clark, Siri M. Kjellberg

chapter 20|24 pages

Artificial islands and islophilia

ByKlaus Dodds, Veronica della Dora

chapter 21|26 pages


Green and blue
ByGraeme Robertson