The article discusses the issue of proper names defined as symptoms of culture. The first part is of a theoretical character and develops the theory of symptomatology of culture in the context of semiotics (Ch. Peirce), psychology and psychoanalysis (S. Freud and J. Lacan), and onomastics. Symptomatology of culture is a practice of interpreting a certain group of texts of culture and extracting common qualitative traits within them. This is especially in the case of those traits specific to them and often encountered, which could testify to particular serious and deeply-rooted social phenomena leading to their appearance. In the empirical part the author presents a way of using (onymic) symptomatology in practice to research modern culture. She uses the examples of popular psychological and auto-therapeutic guidebooks and treats them as linguistic symptomatic forms of the most significant linguistic and cultural phenomena along with their social causes and functions which are often dysfunctional or abnormal in character. The analysis comprises the most typical conceptual and syntactic constructions encountered in the group.
The article tackles issues of the pedagogy of place, with a special emphasis on the urban context. On the basis of fundamental theses asserting that a city is a text (Vladimir Toporov) and that places are pedagogical (Maria Mendel) – the author concentrates on symbols. Definition of this concept, as well as de3 nitions of its particular exemplifications, create a theoretical basis for further practical considerations. Presenting methodology of a research project Reading the City (Czytanie miasta) conducted in the years 2015–2016, the author creates new research challenges for pedagogues. Presentation of wide variety of city symbolism, encompassing both cultural manifestations (towers, bridges) and a realm of nature (mountains, river), leads to proposed educational applications. Descriptions of realized animations based on research form a summary of this article.