An Anthropology of Names and Naming

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Januar 2006



Many philosophers and linguists suggest that names are just labels, but parents internationally are determined to get their children's names right. Personal names may be given, lost, traded, stolen and inherited. This collection of essays provides comparative ethnography through which we examine the politics of naming and the power of names themselves, both to fix and to destabilize personal identity. This book illustrates the intersection of names and naming with current interests in political processes, the relation between bodies and personal identities, ritual, and daily social life.


1. 'Entangled in histories': an introduction to the anthropology of names and naming Barbara Bodenhorn and Gabriele vom Bruck; 2. 'Your child deserves a name': possessive individualism and the politics of memory of pregnancy loss Linda Layne; 3. Names that do not need people Andre Iteanu; 4. The substance of northwest Amazonian names Stephen Hugh-Jones; 5. Teknonymy and the evocation of the 'social' among the Zafimaniry of Madagascar Maurice Bloch; 6. What's in a name? Name bestowal and the identity of spirits in Mayotte and Northwest Madagascar Michael Lambek; 7. Calling into being: naming and speaking names on Alaska's North Slope Barbara Bodenhorn; 8. On being named and not named: authority, persons and their names in Mongolia Caroline Humphrey; 9. Injurious names: naming, disavowal and recuperation in contexts of slavery and emancipation Susan Benson; 10. Where names fall short: names as performances in contemporary urban South Africa Thomas Blom Hansen; 11. Names as bodily signs Gabriele vom Bruck.


Barbara Bodenhorn is a Newton Trust Lecturer in Social Anthropology and a Fellow of Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge. She has worked with Inupiat in northern Alaska since 1980, publishing on kinship, economic relations, gender, and knowledge systems. Her current research focuses on languages of risk and institutionalized decision-making processes in Mexico as well as the Arctic. Gabriele vom Bruck is currently a lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Previously, she held the post of visiting professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. She has published in a number of leading journals such as Signs and Analles. Additonally, she has been awarded the Studeienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes and has completed extended research in the Republic of Yemen.


Review of the hardback: 'This collection of thoughtful essays offers an anthropologically grounded discussion of how names are bestowed, changed, shared, coveted, rejected, used and sometimes abused in a wide range of ethnographic contexts. It provides an excellent array of case studies, from high-ranking Yemeni Imams to African American slaves who must not only relinquish their given names but also answer to demeaning or absurd monikers, and many illustrative examples in between. ... In an era when names act simultaneously as markers of identity and tools of surveillance, this edited volume provides much material for thought and comparison on the regional significance of names. Indeed this welcome set of essays will be of interest to both cultural and linguistic anthropologists in search of a deeper answer to the age-old question of what is in a name.' The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
EAN: 9780521848633
ISBN: 0521848636
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Januar 2006
Seitenanzahl: 290 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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