This paper examines Austronesian Paiwan naming practices to argue that the act of naming not only serves instrumental purposes in identifying individuals, and classificatory purposes in grouping them, but it is also a social praxis for re-negotiating social relations. I will describe in detail Paiwan name types and usages and show how naming among Paiwan defines social relationships with varying values and it links people in the past and present. In other words, the diachronic dimension of naming is as important as the synchronic aspect and the successive naming history often constitutes the source of a strong claim to authority.
Kun-hui Ku received her Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from University of Cambridge in 2001 and has taught at the Institute of Anthropology, National Tsing Hua University since then. Her dissertation is based on fieldwork among the Paiwan in Taiwan and her recent publications include "Rights to Recognition: Minority/Indigenous Politics in the Emergent Taiwanese Nationalism" and "Rediscovering Bark-Cloth in Taiwan". Currently, she is working on a book manuscript while on leave at Harvard Yenching Institute. Her primary interests are religion and modernity, material culture, historical anthropology and anthropology of law.