Publication details [#1208]

Marras, Cristina. 2013. Structuring Multidisciplinary Knowledge: Aquatic and Terrestrial Metaphors. Knowledge Organization 40 (6) : 392–399. 8 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


Drawing from conceptual metaphor theory (Lakoff and Johnson 1980; Lakoff 1993) and the theory of structural mapping (Gentner and Gentner 1983; Gentner 1993), this paper focuses on two main metaphorical domains, viz. terrestrial and aquatic metaphors to show how knowledge is represented and organized. Different fields of knowledge are metaphorically understood in terms of bridges, fences or boundaries whereas changes are perceived as growing trees that need to be taken care of. Likewise, the acquisition of knowledge involves a long journey from darkness to light on walkways, paths or roads. Internet activities are conceptualized in marine terms, such as pirates (people stealing intellectual property), Navigator or Explorer (tools used to search the web), surfing (searching the web) or in terms of book metaphors (e.g. webpages or browsing). Leibniz replaced the knowledge tree metaphor with the ocean metaphor to render the continuity, interrelation and fluidization of the boundaries between scientific domains.