Publication details [#287]

St. Clair, Robert N. 2007. The sedimentation theory of cultural time and space: The present is embedded in the past. Círculo de Lingüística Aplicada a la Comunicación (CLAC) 31 : 52–90. 39 pp.
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The focus of attention in this paper is on the idea of cultural emergence and cultural change. In order to analyze the nature of cultural dynamics, there are, according to the author, several concepts that need to be developed within the realm of cultural emergence. These include the following: the notion of representation, the structure of scientific revolutions or the "archeology of knowledge" (Foucault, 1969), a metaphor that provides an insightful model of temporal and spatial change and to which the author devotes an entire section. But before embarking on this issue, this paper first discusses the role of metaphor with regards to epistemic change. Here, metaphor is defined as the perception of something from a certain point of view, i.e. "a frame of vision" (p. 59) (cf. Brown (1977). Following this rationale, since models of science are ways of seeing a body of knowledge from a certain theoretical angle, these models can be argued to be metaphorical in nature. Consequently, metaphors lie at the heart of model building: they begin within a discipline as illustrative devices and later on they become entrenched within their own cultural framework as tacit knowledge. In conclusion, metaphors provide a fundamental image of the world, a Zeitgeist.