Accepted Paper:

Onomastic circulation and memory: : "traffic-habits" and meaning in "representational economies"  

Author:

Meltem Turkoz (Bosphorus University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the political economy of naming and surname legislation in Turkey to explore the way in which names as memory objects adhere or detach from their bearers through a process of circulation between individuals and state institutions.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores the political economy of naming and surname legislation in Turkey drawing on Debbora Battaglia's notion of the self as a representational economy to explore the way in which surnames as memory objects adhere or detach from their bearers through the process of circulation between individuals and state institutions. As James Scott has noted, surname laws have often created a stock of names that were at odds with local naming practices, detached from the semiotic-chain of daily utterances. Names can both fix identity yet have a capacity to detach from identities. Their meaning is both emergent and potentially denied in what Battaglia has termed the 'representational economy' of the self and state. Yet, in time, names do adhere to their bearers. This paper explores how names become, in Asif Agha's term, "shared by members of a speech chain network," and more importantly, how they circulate between competing speech chain networks. In addition the paper touches upon the relationship of state 'baptismal events' with local events and the channels through which names gain currency in memory.

Panel P60
Everyday names, tales, songs and play: continuous traditions in a changing world