Aarhus Universitetsforlag

No Nation is an Island

Language, Culture, and National Identity in the Faroe Islands

A part of the series North Atlantic Monographs (3) , and the subject area

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237 pages ill.
ISBN 87 9834 245 2



More about the book

About the book

The book follows the process of nation-building in a tiny nation: the Faroe Islands, a cluster of 18 rocky islands in the North Atlantic. Originally settled by Vikings and governed by Norway, then by Denmark, and occupied by British forces during World War II, the Faroes gained a measure of home rule in 1948. Since then, Faroese politics have been doctrinated by the struggle for emancipation from the Danish cultural hegemony, through the establishment of cultural and education institutions on the islands, and through the promotion of the Faroese language in place of Danish.

As Nauerby shows, the national identity has developed in interaction with an outside world often perceived as hostile and threatening by the islanders, and in this process, certain national symbols have played a key role as boundary markers. Apart from language, the practice of pilot whale hunting has served as an important focus of national identity, and international criticism of whaling in general has only served to intensify the Faroese feeling of unity and opposition to an outside world which does not understand them.

Table of contents

List of Maps

List of Figures

List of Plates


Note on the text

Introduction: The Nature of Nations

I. Language and Politics: A Brief Outline of the History of the Faroe Islands

II. Faroese: Between Icelandic and Danish: The Faroese Language Debate at the Turn of the Century

III. Purism and Public Protest

IV. The Pilot Whale Hunt: From National Symbol to International Stigma

Epilogue: National Identities in the Global Ecumene


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