Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

“There’s No Connection Plugging Me Into This System”: Citizenship as Non‐Participation and Voicelessness

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Abstract:  The small and remote island community, the Faroe Islands, has experienced a vast increase in immigration recently. In the space of a decade, immigration has risen from 1.5% of the population to 5.5%. The island community, previously ethnically and culturally homogenous, is now facing growing diversity. The Faroese context is characterised by its small size and a micro‐administration that is ill‐equipped for the complexities of immigration. Previous research has found that underlying the Faroese language and identity is a pervasive ideology of who is considered to “authentically belong.” Furthermore, the small population is strongly connected through multiple relations, and navigating formal and informal life depends on social/family networks. In this small island community context, this article examines immigrant citizenship experiences, drawing on qualitative data collated between 2016 and 2023. Citizenship is here understood as everyday relational and spatial experiences at various levels of society. From the analysis, two central values of citizenship emerged as key to entangled citizenship experiences: (non)participation and (mis)recognition. The analysis finds that Faroese society, both formally and informally, is highly inaccessible to immigrants, rendering them voiceless and marginalised. Furthermore, immigrants experience misrecognition for the resources they bring and find themselves on the margins of the labour market and society in general.

Keywords:  citizenship; immigration; island community; participation; recognition



© Erika Anne Hayfield. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.