The Ties That Bind: Protection and Projection in France’s Indian Ocean Islands of Mayotte and Réunion

Alistair Cole*, Jean-Pierre Cabestan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

The article addresses a two-fold question: first, why does the French state invest so much time and resources in its Indian Ocean islands, Mayotte and Réunion? And why do these ultra-marine regions remain wedded to the French Republic? The high degree of insular buy-in both regions involves a two-level game, connecting state and island actors. Such turning to mainland France represents a form of African agency, however dependent on the mainland these islands appear to be. The causal mechanisms of the integration of the French Indian Ocean territories combine historical legacy (choosing France), institutional evolution (departmentalisation), common economic and military security challenges, the cost calculus of mainland France’s readiness to govern ultramarine territories and a widely shared set of beliefs in the value of remaining French. The islands are acting like rational actors, whose insular and isolated status pushes in the direction of seeking protection in an unstable environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalGeopolitics
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jan 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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