Commemorative cityscapes: spatio-temporal patterns in street names in Leipzig, East Germany and Poznań, Poland

Isabelle Buchstaller, Malgorzta Fabiszak, Seraphim Alvanides, Anna Weronika Brzezińska, Patryk Dobkiewicz

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Abstract

This article contributes to research on commemorative naming strategies by presenting a comparative longitudinal study on changes in the urban toponymy of Leipzig (Germany) and Poznań (Poland) over a period of 102 years. Our analysis combines memory studies, Linguistic Landscape (LL) research and critical toponymy with GIS visualization techniques to explore (turnovers in) naming practices across time and space. The key difference between the two localities lies in the commemorative pantheon of referents – events, people, and places inscribed as traces of a hegemonic national past – that are replaced when commemorative priorities change. Other patterns are common to both study sites. Notably, in both Poznań and Leipzig, peaks of renaming occur at the threshold of regime change, after which commemorative renaming activity subsides. We report on our findings and propose methodological guidelines for analyzing street renaming from a longitudinal, transnational and interdisciplinary perspective.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage in Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Nov 2022

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