This web site grew out of a research project led by Dr. Karen Pennesi, which began in 2012 as an investigation of stories about how names can sometimes be a source of difficulty, confusion, embarrassment, frustration, or anxiety. This project analyzes such stories about the experiences that Canadians, including recent immigrants, have with names as they negotiate social identities. People whose names reflect various linguistic and cultural traditions were interviewed about their name-related experiences involving regulations, bureaucracy and social interactions, in the Canadian context. Government workers and institutional representatives were also asked about their experiences working with the great diversity of names in the Canadian population.


​The study identified problems faced by people whose names do not conform to the established norms of the dominant Anglo-Franco-Canadian society, including forms of exclusion, disadvantage and emotional stress.  


With a better understanding of these difficulties, and the institutional practices that contribute to them, the research is expected to generate knowledge that will benefit both individuals and institutional agents, as they deal with the complex social, legal, cultural and political issues surrounding names.


You will find links to resources describing the results of this research in the My Research link under the Blog tab. 

Negotiating Personal Names and Social Identities in Canada

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