The Faroe Islands: Independence dreams, globalist separatism and the Europeanization of postcolonial home rule

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This article examines the intersection of postimperial sovereignty and European integration in the context of a disintegrating Nordic empire. More specifically, it explores the relationships between the Faroe Islands – a group of self-governing islands in the North Atlantic – Denmark and the rest of the world. While the Faroe Islands have gained increased autonomy from Denmark, Faroese separatists are now discussing whether to transfer their newly won autonomy further on to the EU. This contradictory development of separation and integration is shaped by interweaving ideas of sovereignty, nationalism, globalization and postcolonial dependency. The article shows that the Faroese–Danish relationship is being internationalized and Europeanized as the EU and UN become reference points in negotiations of political visions for an independent Faroese state and the controversial issue of pilot whaling. Notwithstanding dramatic transformations, the Faroese–Danish relationship has maintained its postcolonial character, where Denmark is awkwardly constituted as a maternalistic colonial power defending an adolescent colonized from the rest of the world. The real novelty is not the increased Faroese autonomy from Denmark, but how the EU challenges the unity of the postimperial Danish realm and hence the myth of a homogenous Danish nation-state.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)55-79
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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