Personal Names and the Indexicality of Identities

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Jane PILCHER, University of Leicester, United Kingdom
Sociologists have overlooked the part played by personal names in the construction and communication of identities. My paper explores how personal names (forenames and surnames) are used alongside other (embodied) resources to communicate identity components that together offer the semblance of authenticity. I examine how personal names can also be important in ‘denaturalized’ identities, where there is a dissemblance of authenticity arising from perceived contradictions between the name(s) of an individual and their other (embodied) identity components. I focus on the examples of sex categorised forenames, forenames and ethnicity, marital surnames, and transgender forenames to show how naming is at the foreground of processes employed in the indexing of identities as being, or not being, ‘authentic’.