Swedifying the other: place-name policymaking in the large-scale cadastral maps of the Swedish Empire (1630–1700)

Why did the multilingual Swedish Empire mandate the Swedifying of non-Scandinavian place names? More importantly, why were place names from Sámi-, Finnish- and German-speaking areas treated differently in spite of this ruling?

The project’s aim is to uncover the genesis of Swedish policies regarding non-Scandinavian place names by analysing the Land Survey’s directives of the 1600s (issued in connection with large-scale cadastral mapping of the Swedish Empire), cadastral maps, and place names.

Through three sub-studies and a synthesis, this three-year project will investigate name policymaking across the Empire as a social process in its contextual setting and explain the reasons behind the choice of different strategies to process non-Scandinavian place names in Norrbotten in Sweden, Turku and Pori in Finland, and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany.

Most of the scholarly work on name policies in Sweden has been concerned with the present-day implementation of existing regulations. This project intervenes into the current state of research by addressing the origins of formalised place-name policies, their agenda, design, implementations, and far-reaching implications.

By using material-semiotic, linguistic and digital spatial tools, the project significantly advances the development of theory and method in the field of name studies. Furthermore, the project will contribute to the development of more informed present-day policies on minority place names in Sweden.

Last modified: 2022-04-25