Names and Naming People, Places, Perceptions and Power Edited by: Guy Puzey, Laura Kostanski

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02 Feb 2016
Multilingual Matters
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


This book explores international trends in naming and contributes to the growing field of onomastic enquiry. Naming practices are viewed here through a critical lens, demonstrating a high level of political and social engagement in relation to how we name people and places. The contributors to this publication examine why names are not only symbols of a person or place, but also manifestations of cultural, linguistic and social heritage in their own right. Presenting analyses of geographically and culturally diverse perspectives and case studies, the book investigates how names can represent deeper kinds of identity, act as objects of attachment and dependence, and reflect community mores and social customs while functioning as powerful mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion. The book will be of interest to researchers in onomastics, sociology, human geography, linguistics and history.


This volume makes a key contribution to the rapidly-expanding field of critical onomastics, presenting new insights into the symbolic value of names in human society. Case studies from different parts of the world highlight the role of names as powerful symbols of identity, particularly in areas of language contact or conflict. The essays are both scholarly and accessible, and deserve to be widely read.

- Carole Hough, University of Glasgow, UK

Names and Naming: People, Places, Perceptions and Power is a great addition to the ‘critical turn’ in naming studies. Guy Puzey and Laura Kostanski have brought together an excellent group of scholars to produce a diverse range of empirically rich and critically aware case studies of the politics of naming. This is an important book for anyone who wants to learn about the latest developments in socially engaged and critical approaches to onomastics.

- Lawrence D. Berg, University of British Columbia, Canada

I have been working with place names for many years but the articles in this publication have continued my education of the role that names of all varieties play in helping us to find our place. This is not only in a spatial sense, but in cultural and personal aspects I had not previously considered. These papers allowed me to see this and I commend all for the work that has been undertaken in the investigation and preparation of the insights presented.

- William Watt, Chair, United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names

This volume covers a variety of pressing themes in naming studies. Due to the
interdisciplinary nature of the field of onomastics and the critical approach advocated
by the contributors, the book is also particularly valuable for scholars in pragmatics,
human geography, and sociology.

- Language in Society 47 (2018) - Johanna Warm, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

This volume forms an extraordinary contribution that clearly illuminates the relevance of critical onomastics. It has the ability to inspire scholars to conduct politically aware and socially engaged onomastic research. The volume deserves to be read by everyone interested in the roles of names and naming.

- Journal of the English Place-Name Society 48 (2016) - Emilia Aldrin, Halmstad University, Sweden

This book describes very well the socio-linguistic diversity in each country, and it is also possible to see some similitude, such as the struggle of minority languages against hegemonies. It is without a doubt a promising field.

- Onomastica Canadiana, Vol. 95 (2016) - Marc-Alexandre Beaulieu, Leiden University, Netherlands

This book is a welcome addition to the expanding field of onomastics. It joins the likes of Hough’s (2016) edited volume to present a wealth of studies that would broaden our understanding of how naming practices affect people, places and of what images and attitudes their names conjure up. In fact, this book shares seven contributors with Hough’s volume. The interdisciplinary nature of the field of onomastics makes this book a treasure for post-graduate students and researchers in cultural studies, historical linguistics, human geography and planning, lexicology, sociolinguistics, sociology, and urbanization.

- LINGUIST List 27.5049 - Paula Prescod, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, France

Author Biography:

Guy Puzey is Lecturer in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh, UK. His research interests include language policy, linguistic landscapes and geosemiotics, critical sociolinguistics and toponomastics, particularly in the contexts of Scotland and the Nordic countries.

Laura Kostanski is Director at Geonaming Solutions Pty Ltd & Address Exchange Pty Ltd, and is based in Australia. Her research interests include toponymy, human geography, geospatial systems, crowd sourcing, government policy and Indigenous cultural heritage.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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