Journal cover Journal topic
Proceedings of the ICA
Journal topic
Articles | Volume 2
10 Jul 2019
 | 10 Jul 2019

Toponyms’ contribution to identity: The case study of Rabat (Morocco)

Malak Alasli

Keywords: toponymy, identity, place names

Abstract. Toponymy is a crucial component for cartographic representation of geographic information. Toponyms are essential building blocks of communities and identity. Place names are instruments of meaning to be attached to spaces to convert them into places. Among their functions, place names are said to be vectors of a transgenerational communication. They lift the veil on the relationship they hold with identity. They make us better understand the population’s means of expression, which will shed light on the identification they attribute to themselves. This study is an analysis of the relationship between place names and identity. It advances that place name holds more meaning than just a way to indicate a place. The nature of this investigation makes it possible for using case study as a qualitative research design. To ensure more valid conclusions, multiple data collection tools were adopted. Semi-structured interviews provide more flexibility and satisfy most of the research objectives. The other instrument used is a questionnaire for the purpose of eliciting more information from the respondents. The objective is to investigate the image displayed by the place names in use. The results point to the symbolic nature of place names in the construction of identities. In this regard, they are not mere signifiers of places and markers of destination but offer insight into the imposed identity and ideology on a landscape.

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