Citizenship in the Faroe Islands: Participant, Parochial or Colonial?

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Abstract

This article analyses citizenship and political culture in the Faroe Islands based on a quantitative survey carried out in summer 2004. Located theoretically in the tradition of Scandinavian citizenship investigations and its predecessors in the ‘civic culture’ tradition of Almond and Verba, four areas of citizenship are analysed: political engagement, democratic participation, political efficacy and democratic identity. The main hypothesis is that the character of citizenship in the Faroe Islands is very similar to that found in the Scandinavian countries in general. While most of the results found confirm this hypothesis, there are a number of special features that demand alternative explanations. Thus, the fact that the Faroese score much below the Scandinavian average concerning ‘postmodern’ forms of political participation like political consumption or boycott of goods, and that gender differences are bigger than in other Scandinavian countries when it comes to female representation in the Faroese parliament and in government, seems better explained by the relative remoteness of the islands from the Scandinavian political and cultural mainstream (the parochialism hypothesis). Also the fact that the Faroese are much less confident in speaking at public meetings, sending letters to newspapers or complaining to authorities than, for example, Danes in general calls for an alternative explanation. As these features go together with much less knowledge about and confidence in the Danish parliament (‘Folketinget’) and a lower level of efficacy towards the parliament than among Danes in general, the most likely explanation seem to be found in the way in which Danish supremacy has affected political culture in the Faroe Islands (the colonialism hypothesis).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-332
Number of pages22
JournalScandinavian Political Studies
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • Citizenship
  • Faroe Islands
  • Political Culture

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