THE SURNAME PROJECT

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HIS NAME, HER NAME , THEIR NAME? SURNAMES, FAMILY PRACTICES, AND IDENTITY

Starting in January 2021, I am working on a research project about the surnames that we choose to keep, change or mix in new ways, when we establish (or dissolve) a family. The project is supported by the Carlsberg Foundation. Just four decades ago, Danish women still automatically got their husband’s surname when getting married. Today, 25% of surname changes are done by men, just like it has become common for couples to combine their middle and last names in new ways, to choose a new last name together, and it has become possible for unmarried and same-sex couples to share a last name. So, what do these new ways of using last names mean for building (and tearing down) family identity? And which functions do last names serve in families today?