Notions of home in the construction of island identity

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Notions of ‘home’ in construction of island identity by young islanders Despite the late twentieth century rise of globalisation, the recent spatial turn in the social sciences is demonstrating the continued importance of geographical space on our lives and our identities. As well as our current geographical spaces, our past places remain important in our construction of our notions of selfhood, and the ways in which we view our futures. Considering these issues in relation to islands, this paper will explore the signifi cance of island places to young islanders from the Orkney and Shetland islands (in the UK) in their narrative constructions of themselves and the ways they conceptualise their futures. Drawing on data from an ongoing PhD project on the career and migration pathways of higher education students from the islands of Orkney and Shetland in the UK, this paper will demonstrate the particular signifi cance of the concept of ‘home’ in constructing islander identity. In this research ‘home’ becomes a signifi er that encompasses not only direct family of origin and bricks and mortar, but the wider social and cultural context of the islands. In addition the notion of ‘home’ also become part of lifecourse narratives whereby young people envisage leaving their island homes while they are young, and potentially returning to their islands, when they create their own (new) homes with partners and children in the future. This paper will argue that the nature of islands, boundaried by the sea, and yet highly interconnected with other communities, gives the concept of ‘home’ a particular signifi cance for island communities and islander identities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event16th ISISA Islands of the World Conference: The Changing Futures of Islands - Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Duration: 10 Jun 201814 Jun 2018


Conference16th ISISA Islands of the World Conference
Internet address


  • islands
  • home
  • identity


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