Society and culture as container
(Re-)drawing borders and their metaphorical foundation from a communicative and extracommunicative point of view
Within the social sciences and humanities, especially in the field of cultural studies, research has increasingly been dealing with the dissolution of cultural and social boundaries. However, the question of how interactants perceive themselves and construct and describe their interaction space in a certain ‘culture’ or ‘society’ can only be answered empirically. In this regard, the methodological framework of cognitive metaphor theory has proven to be facilitative. From a cognitive semantics point of view, metaphors by no means refer to an external world in a descriptive sense, but are important mediators between cognition and language, as well as between the individual and society. On the basis of two research projects — one on the metaphorical construction of society in German and Brazilian written and spoken corpora, and another on filmed intercultural interactions in the context of an ongoing research — it will be revealed how participants in communication use culture-specific metaphorizations when localizing themselves and others. In addition, the role of animated ‘compound image schemas’, such as container, outside-inside and up-down, will be explored at the linguistic as well as the gestural level when functioning as ‘patterns of orientation’ and ‘meaning formulas’. While from a communicative-participative perspective such schemas serve to reduce complexity, they are also highly significant from the participants’ own extracommunicative-reflexive point of view where interpretations regarding divergent behavioral patterns are concerned.
Keywords: Brazil, Germany, culture, container, boundaries, metaphor
Published online: 19 November 2015
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Schröder, Ulrike, Milene Mendes de Oliveira & Hans-Georg Wolf
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