Changing Names and Gendering Identity: Social Organisation in Contemporary Britain, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Changing Names and Gendering Identity

Social Organisation in Contemporary Britain, 1st Edition

By Rachel Thwaites


154 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2016-11-08
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This book investigates contemporary naming practices on marriage in Britain, drawing on survey data and detailed interview material in which women offer their own accounts of the reasons for which they have changed or retained their names. Exploring the ways in which names are used to create and understand family, to cement commitments and make it clear to the self and to others that subject is in ’true love’, Changing Names and Gendering Identity considers the manner in which names are used to make sense of the self and narrate life changes and choices in a coherent fashion. A critique of the gender-blindness of sociological theories of individualisation, this volume offers evidence of the continued importance of traditions and the past to the functioning of contemporary society. In dissecting the everyday, taken-for-granted ritual of name changing for women on marriage, it sheds light on the nature of an enduring set of unequal gender relations which are used to organise society, behaviour and interpersonal relations. Engaging with questions of power, heteronormativity, and gender relations, this analysis of a significant ritual of contemporary heterosexual marriage will interest sociologists and scholars of gender studies with interests in the family, identity and gender relations.

Table of Contents


Author’s Declaration

1: Introduction: The Importance of Names to Gendered Social Organisation

2: Research Design and Methodology

3: Names and Tradition

4: Names, ‘Choice’, and Gender

5: Power, Politics, and Naming

6: Maintaining the Status Quo? Love, Heterosexuality, and Emotion Work

7: ‘Displaying’ and ‘Doing’ Family: Genetics, Social Connection, and Respectability

8: Names, (Gendered) Self, and Society

9: Accounting for Transgression

10: Conclusion


About the Author

Rachel Thwaites is a Lecturer in Sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Gender and Society

The social sciences continue to be transformed and enriched by analysis which takes gender, and the ways in which gender and society interact, to be of vital, defining importance. This series is new and broadly based, and will publish high-level contributions from across the disciplines.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies