Island Youth in Waiting: Adolescence, Waithood, and Future-making in the Faroe Islands

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores the multifaceted present-day social and cultural constructions of adolescence in a Nordic Atlantic society, the Faroe Islands. Based on young people’s perspectives and narratives, this chapter delves into the transition from youthhood to adulthood in the context of a small-scale, family-oriented society in shift. Drawing on sociological theoretical writing about “waiting” and “waithood” in relation to the (often temporally extended or delayed) transition from adolescence to full adulthood in a globalizing world, as well as social anthropological studies of future-making, my aim is to outline the new futural orientations of contemporary adolescence with focus on aspirations for work and family life. Young people, the chapter argues, are waiting and navigating in a society with multiple parallel temporalities: When to marry? When to get children? When to earn your own money and have your own home? These and many other questions define waithood in contemporary society, which is characterized by an increasingly precarious avenue toward promising futures resonating the socially accepted ways of performing adulthood. In the Faroe Islands, an island society with roughly 54,000 inhabitants, young people’s waiting is very often also a question of staying or leaving, that is, mobility and migration strategies. The waiting entails pace as a strategy for the future (Eisenstein, 2021). Adolescent islanders aim to “hit the right pace” in their future imaginaries. This chapter contributes to sociological discussions on the social construction of adolescence with focus on the meaning of time and temporalities. It relies on empirical material from extensive qualitative studies in the Faroe Islands.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Social Construction of Adolescence in Contemporaneity
EditorsM.S. Isidório, L.E. Bass
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-80117-448-0
ISBN (Print)978-1-80117-449-7
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameSociological Studies of Children and Youth


  • Youth
  • Futures
  • Waiting
  • Temporality
  • Islands
  • Identity


Dive into the research topics of 'Island Youth in Waiting: Adolescence, Waithood, and Future-making in the Faroe Islands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this