'It's like they have a cognitive map of relations': Feeling strange in a small island community

Erika Anne Hayfield, Mariah Schug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Living with strangers is a feature of modern life, typically
conceptualised in urban contexts in terms of anonymity and
diversity. Strangers in small places, on the other hand, have
received less attention; possibly, because there is an assumption
that such places are relatively stable, static or homogenous. In
small places, typically characterised by high levels of familiarity
and close social networks, strangers may have different
experiences. Therefore, we are concerned with immigration to
small places and feeling strange in such settings. We employ the
concepts of the stranger and place-belongingness to understand
the experiences of immigrants to the Faroe Islands. The findings
from this interview-based study are structured around three main
themes. In the first, strangers in places characterised by high
familiarity, we discuss how informants experience and navigate
Faroese networks. In the second, negotiating place-belongingness,
the discussion focuses on how immigrants negotiate belonging
and how relations, security, and time, impact place-belongingness.
The third theme, boundaries of belonging, refers to the politics of
belonging. In this theme, we discuss how language and identity
are key sites of tension in creating boundaries, determining who
belongs versus who is rendered a familiar stranger.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-398
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of intercultural studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • stranger
  • belonging
  • migration
  • social networks
  • Faroe Islands


Dive into the research topics of ''It's like they have a cognitive map of relations': Feeling strange in a small island community'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this