The Spirit of „Gothic” and „Intellectual Horizon”, or how to Express the Inexpressible Cover Image

Duch gotyku i horyzont intelektualny. O metaforze potocznej i uczonej
The Spirit of „Gothic” and „Intellectual Horizon”, or how to Express the Inexpressible

Author(s): Jacek Falski
Subject(s): Cultural Essay, Political Essay, Societal Essay
Published by: Instytut Slawistyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk

Summary/Abstract: In this paper the metaphor is approached from the perspective of psycholinguistics and cognitive linguistics as a fundamental instrument of human perception and organization of knowledge. So as the notion, metaphor plays an important role in organizing the know¬ledge of the world, proper to humans as members of the social world. Two examples of metaphor are presented in order to verify their utility and manner of functioning on different levels of social reality. The first one, „the spirit of gothic” or its variety – „a gothic climate,” is charac¬teristic to so-called „popular” culture, and the second one, „an intellectual horizon,” is proper in the discourse of humanities and social sciences. The research carried out among fans of gothic music (another name for the dark wave) indicates that they use this metaphor to name and describe their attitudes, practices, and representations related to this genre of music. Metaphors of this kind serve as a categorization of phenomena that cannot be strictly defined. On the other side, one cannot expect to be given a definition of „the gothic music”, because this phenomenon is related not only with its music properties, but (primarily) with social practices, attitudes, and representations encapsulated in the very metaphor. Although the second metaphor belongs to scientific register of a language, it functions in the similar way. It is not clearly defined and in different situations can be used with different meaning. The attempt of Pierre Bourdieu to specify the usage of this kind of metaphor is presented at the end of the paper in order to indicate the value of metaphor in scientific discourse under condition of its exact application. As a conclusion a comparison of popular and scientific usage of metaphor is proposed, as well as some remarks on social knowledge.

  • Issue Year: 2008
  • Issue No: 8
  • Page Range: 229-244
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Polish