Namnval som social handling : Val av förnamn och samtal om förnamn bland föräldrar i Göteborg 2007–2009
The aim of this doctoral thesis is to examine how parents in Sweden at the beginning of the twenty-first century use the process of naming as a resource to contribute to the creation of various identities for both themselves and their child. It is based on a two-component study — a postal survey and qualitative group interviews, both conducted in the city of Göteborg, Sweden — and includes parents with children born during 2007 and 2008. By combining different sources (names, surveys and interviews) and different methods (quantitative and qualitative), this study attempts to elucidate how first names and choices of first names can be given various social meanings. In contrast to previous socio-onomastic studies, this study considers not only whether naming contains any social variation, but also how and why such variation arises. The theoretical framework is a combination of onomastic, sociolinguistic, identity-theoretical and interactional theories. The results demonstrate that parents’ choice of first names for their children is an important social act. Through name choices and discussions of these choices, parents create what is known as social positioning, which in turn contributes to the creation of certain identities both for themselves and their child. A number of resources are identified which are used by parents to create different social positionings. This study also demonstrates how both macro-societal structures and interactional aspects influence this social positioning. Finally, this study argues that the observed social variation is best explained by the parents’ desire to identify with and contribute to the creation of different models for society, in which varying social values and attributes are important.
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