Career Decision Making in Island Communities: Applying the concept of the Aquapelago to the Shetland and Orkney Islands

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Geographical location plays an important part in the career decision making of young adults, both in terms of the economic opportunities provided by the local labour market, and in terms of framing the social and cultural context within which decisions are made. Despite employment and migration being key concerns within island settings, little research has been done into the role of island contexts within career decision making of
young islanders.
In order to conceptualise the role of island contexts, this paper explores the potential of the concept of the aquapelago – identifying how the notion of the aquapelago brings together three key aspects of island contexts: labour markets, migrations and cultural background. The paper concludes that the concept provides a useful reframing of island contexts, but suggests that a greater awareness of diversity between different island aquapelagos and different inhabitants within these aquapelagos may be necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-52
Number of pages15
JournalShima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • Orkney
  • Shetland
  • Aquapelago
  • Careers
  • Migration
  • Employment
  • Island

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