Vol.6, No.2 | [Articles] Naming People: A Reflection of Identity and Resistance in a Greek Arvanite Village




This paper examines the representation resulting from forenames, surnames and nickname practices. The paper provides an ethnographic analysis of naming practices as an everyday experience for the people of Gogofis, an Arvanite/Greek village in Attica, which is an hour’s drive from Athens. Gogofiotes have chosen to publicly conform to the dominant Greek national culture rather than constructing a public ethnic Albanian identity. This study examines how naming creates spaces which the Arvanite exploit to express either their Greek or Albanian identity. I attempt to show how they use naming practices as a form of conformity or resistance. In addition, I demonstrate how fluid relationships are generated from naming practices. The study concludes with an illustration of how commensality is created by naming via the example of the Albanian immigrants who arrived in Gogofis in the later part of the twentieth century. Instead of maintaining a marginalized status as immigrants, the Albanians have employed Gogofiote intimate knowledge about naming to become full members of the community.

Keywords : Greece, Albania, Arvanites, Naming, Identity