Congress theme

28th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences
Sustainability of names, naming and onomastics

Sustainability has become a crucial topic in society and science. The world is facing numerous complex and urgent challenges – such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, poverty and inequality – that force us to re-evaluate our procedures and modes of action in all sectors in our lives. These challenges are broadly recognized, and actions to overcome them have been summarized for example in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. There is a call for universities and research institutions to find solutions to these problems.


The concept of sustainability has traditionally been considered to consist of three dimensions: environmental, economic, and social. However, an increasing number of scholars and experts include cultural sustainability as the fourth dimension, meaning for example the maintenance of cultural beliefs and practices, heritage conservation, understanding culture as its own entity, and the future of cultures (see e.g. Soini & Birkeland 2014). Proper names and onomastic research can be linked to all the four dimensions but especially cultural sustainability.


With the congress theme, Sustainability of names, naming and onomastics, the organizers encourage onomasticians to evaluate how their research can support building sustainable societies. Examples of possible approaches to the congress theme are (but not limited to):

  • People’s relation to their environment (both physical and digital) from the standpoint of toponyms and other place-related names
  • Names and minorities, the power relationships conveyed by names
  • Urban toponymy in smart and sustainable cities
  • Commercial names as a part of sustainable economy
  • Identity and naming, the rights to express identities via names
  • Changing names (place names, personal names, commercial names etc.)
  • Names in the digital world
  • Names and law-making
  • Traffic and tourism
  • Onomastics as a sustainable science