By Sabine Maasen

This booklet opens up a brand new path to the learn of information dynamics and the sociology of information. the point of interest is at the function of metaphors as robust catalysts and the booklet dissects their position within the building of theories of data and may for this reason be of significant curiosity to social and cognitive scientists alike.

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Hence, no wonder perhaps that considering metaphors in science has met and still meets with much concern. Throughout the next chapter, we will deal with some of those concerns, yet argue that the lessons to be learned from the manifold usages of metaphors may be different ones: • Apparently, metaphors not only seem to be inevitable, they even seem to make sense. That is, they produce meaning in various discourses. They are what we once called ‘messengers of meaning’ (Maasen and Weingart 1995). • At the same time, metaphors are intricate elements of language which is most evident in political-moral as well as in (social) scientific discourse.

To order these interactions, one may, as for instance Cathleen Crider and Leonard Cirillo do, differentiate between different systems of interpretation and functions of metaphors depending on the social context and the goals of the speakers (Crider and Cirillo 1991:171),20 yet we prefer to observe and discuss the processing of metaphors on a sociology of knowledge level, proceeding from a discourse-analytical approach. Enlightened by the metaphor accounts given above, a discourse-analytical approach conceives of metaphors as single discursive elements within a broader discursive context to be identified by their relative lack of familiarity.

Harrington 1995:368). Although metaphors of wholeness became ubiquitous, Harrington notes that this ‘racializing’ of the overarching cosmology with the help of holistic life and mind sciences was by no means an ‘inevitable thrust of a causal intellectual trajectory’ but rather ‘due to the choices that got made, metaphoric Metaphors in knowledge dynamics 29 structurings that were sewn, that were not inevitable but that, once established, could work as a powerful independent force’ (Harrington 1995:376).

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