Changing names and gendering identity

By Rachel Thwaites.

Writing about names might seem trivial.  Sociologists certainly seem to have thought it wasn’t important, with a real lack of naming research in this discipline.  Yet names are important signifiers: of personal identity, familial links, and even social roles; they help us to delineate between people, enact contracts, and speak to people in the everyday.  They are a crucial part of social organisation in any society and are bound up with social values and norms.  In Britain, the last name continues to have a particularly gendered significance and it is this which my research addresses. Continue reading