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Keywords:

  • tourist development;
  • place-naming;
  • street-naming;
  • Acre;
  • Akko;
  • Akka

Extensive research has been conducted on place names because they are one of the most significant markers of the intimate relationship between people and territory. Several studies on street names have already noted the use of place names as a form of symbolic capital in order to create and sell place distinctions for the purposes of prestige and profit. The literature, however, has not yet adequately addressed a different motivation in place-naming: the promotion of places for the purpose of tourism development. Furthermore, research in this field has yet to examine the ways in which local residents interpret and contest official street names with their own oral system of naming, focusing instead on the process of selecting and affixing place names and the cultural conflicts that arise from these political decisions. This article explores place-naming in the Old City of Acre (Israel) in light of tourism development processes, focusing not only on the motivations for the naming but also on the responses of local residents to the naming and to the struggle on the symbolic identity of the city that develop as a result. The first section of the article examines the historical process of bestowing official street names in the Old City of Acre as well as the existing system of place names used by the local Arab inhabitants of the Old City. The article's second section studies the reactions and attitudes of the local population in the Old City to the relatively recent initiative of the Acre Development Company to assign official street names, chosen in the past, to the streets and alleys of the Old City.