THE SURNAME PROJECT
HIS NAME, HER NAME, THEIR NAME? SURNAMES, FAMILY PRACTICES, AND IDENTITY
I have worked 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.
Just four decades ago, Danish women still automatically got their husband’s surname when getting married. Today, 25% of surname changes in Denmark 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 family identity? And which functions do last names serve in families today?
The project has been carried out at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Copenhagen and was supported by the Carlsberg Foundation.