WASAGAMA (SURNAME) AND INDIVIDUAL NAME CHANGES AMONG THE SINHALESE OF SRI LANKA: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY

Journal Title: Social Affairs - Year 2017, Vol 1, Issue 6

Abstract

There appears a good number of newspaper notices to effect changes in surname (Wasagama) and individual names by the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka. Surname and name indicate the social status of an individual in the broad linguistic-cultural context among the Sinhalese. Even though Sri Lanka is a practicing democracy, there are discriminations meted upon individuals on traditional caste based hierarchical norms of behavior. Successive governments have followed universal public policies that discourage ascribed values, while certain caste groups have been forming associations with the objective of inculcating pride among members of their folds and thereby helping the enhancement of perceived social status. Consideration of caste in social interactions is visible in many spheres of social activity in Sri Lanka despite avowed universal values. In this light, surname and name changes constitute one of the mechanisms adopted to manipulate this social reality. The present study was based on a classifcation of newspaper notices into certain categories in order to explore the general pattern of surname and name changes, with the objective of identifying the motivating factors behind such changes and the benefts accrued to the individual though such a process. The study concluded that name change does not only constitute a change of caste but also involves changing other types of identities.

Authors and Affiliations

Upul Abeyrathne, Suranjith Gunasekera and Pulsi Epa

Keywords

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  • EP ID EP31430
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How To Cite

Upul Abeyrathne, Suranjith Gunasekera and Pulsi Epa (2017). WASAGAMA (SURNAME) AND INDIVIDUAL NAME CHANGES AMONG THE SINHALESE OF SRI LANKA: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY. Social Affairs, 1(6), -. https://europub.co.uk/articles/-A-31430