Erika Anne Hayfield is Dean and researcher at the Faculty of History and Social Sciences of the University of the Faroe Islands
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Citizenship as Non‐Participation and Voicelessness

Erika Anne Hayfield, Dean and Researcher at the Faculty of History and Social Sciences at the University of the Faroe Islands, has published a new scientific article, which shows that it is exceptionally difficult for immigrants to become part of Faroese society

The article ’There’s No Connection Plugging Me Into This System’: Citizenship as Non‐Participation and Voicelessness is published in Social Inclusion, Cogitatio Press.

The Faroe Islands has seen a vast increase in immigration in the space of a mere decade - catching the islands off-guard. Thus, the changing society is waking up to the reality of a diversified popoulation. This lack of societal readiness, coupled with an already overstretched micro public administration is putting systems under pressure.

Political authorities have commenced important initiatives, e.g. the new legal framework for Faroese as a second language (Føroyskt sum annaðmál LM085/2023), municipal initiatives, and not least the extensive efforts of the Immigration Office (Útlendingastovan) working to construct systems of inclusion and support for immigrants.

Notwithstanding these efforts, the field of immigration has been characterised by non-policies and not addressing or debating this important issue. Important because the wellbeing, health, societal contribution, and life chances of immigrants is at stake. Many immigrants experience complex obstacles, immense stress, and exclusion in Faroese society, which ultimately impacts mental health and feelings of worth as a citizen. This leads to societal loss, group marginalisation, and individual suffering.

The article addresses everyday practices of citizenship and the challenges of tuning into immigrant realities, when the Faroese self-understanding is one of Faroe Islands as a good and equal society for all. Being a Faroese citizen, therefore, should not only encompass rights, but also the individual and collective responsibility of an ethics of care – a care approach which involves opening our minds and society to the diverse experiences, needs and realities of vulnerable citizens, in this case immigrants.

Read the article here.