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Creating Worldviews

Creating Worldviews: Metaphor, Ideology and Language

James W. Underhill
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    Creating Worldviews
    Book Description:

    Reflecting upon language and the role metaphor plays in patterning ideas and thought, Underhill analyses the discourse of several languages in recent history.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-4700-2
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Part I Metaphor

    • CHAPTER 1 Metaphor and World-Conceiving
      (pp. 3-16)

      Few scholars would argue with the idea that words and worldviews are intertwined and that language and thought are related. But when we speak of language, what do we mean? Are we thinking of the language system, or the particular style or type of language used? Most sociologists, political analysts and philosophers are concerned with the ideological content of concepts. Theodor Adorno (1991a, 1991b, 1989), Raymond Williams (1983), Michel Foucault (2004), George Lakoff (1996) and Andrew Goatly (2007) are but a few of those who remind us that words are not innocent and that political systems, reigning ideologies and competing...

    • CHAPTER 2 A Concern for Metaphor
      (pp. 17-24)

      One rich and wide-reaching element in language has become the focal point of much study in the past three decades: metaphor. If this element of language has aroused such interest, it is because there has been increasing recognition that all of our concepts are framed within metaphorical terms. Rather than a model of language based upon the linguistic sign (a model which implies that words designate things in the world outside of language), linguists today are more inclined to accept that there exists a figurative substructure to concepts. This in turn helps us to understand that concepts are not extra-lingual...

    • CHAPTER 3 Metaphors We Live By
      (pp. 25-29)

      The explosion of work on metaphor in recent decades has its roots in the ground-breaking book Metaphors We Live By, written by Lakoff and Johnson in 1980. Though the two authors have modified their position in separate and co-written works since then, and though cognitive approaches have moved on to other fields of linguistics, semantics and epistemology, and though they have introduced new paradigms for analysing metaphor, it is worth quoting the fundamental claims made in this work, since these claims have influenced the terms of the debate that revolves around the representation of conceptual constructs in language. The pith...

    • CHAPTER 4 Other Developments in Metaphor Theory
      (pp. 30-43)

      It would be a mistake to assume that cognitive linguists uncovered the secret power of metaphor. At least two reasons contradict such an idea: firstly, there has always been a great deal of work on metaphor, and, secondly, the concept of metaphor has itself been expanded in cognitive research to encompass questions and fields of study which up until recently had been investigated by scholars who did not consider metaphor to be their principle focus of interest. Indeed, a wide variety of disciplines from grammar to comparative linguistics have now entered into the metaphor debate. In contrast to this loose...

    • CHAPTER 5 Further Cognitive Contributions to Metaphor Theory
      (pp. 44-62)

      Cognitive approaches to metaphor show a great diversity in themselves, and this diversity is mirrored by the variety of strands within Lakoff’s own work. In his individual work since 1990, Lakoff has concentrated a great deal of his energy on applying metaphor theory to politics. Adopting the role of the engaged intellectual, he has used the concepts of folk theories, narrative theory and conceptual metaphor to analyse the discourse of political rhetoric in studies such as his accounts of the two wars in Iraq. He offered a book-length account of the deficiencies of Democrat Party rhetoric in Moral Politics, published...

    • CHAPTER 6 Diversity on the Periphery
      (pp. 63-86)

      Studies which approach the question of metaphor with a comparative approach include The Ubiquity of Metaphor: Amsterdam Studies in the Theory and History of Linguistic Science (1985) edited by Wolf Paprotté and René Dirven, the multilingual studies to be found on the online journal, based in Hamburg, Germany, and work carried out by Czech and Polish scholars and published by Irena Vaňková in The Picture of the World in Language (Obraz světa v jazyce, 2001). Eve Sweetser, like Andrew Goatly, is somewhat of an exception in that she is one of the few prominent cognitive linguists to propose comparative...

  5. Part II Case Studies in Metaphor

    • Introduction to Part II
      (pp. 89-91)

      The following three case studies will explore the relationship between speech and metaphor in the construction of ideological worldviews and in the very construction of our concept of language itself. In the first and second case studies, we will discuss the role played by metaphor in constructing ideological worldviews, or what we will increasingly call cultural mindsets. Two unfashionable mindsets have been selected deliberately, in order to upset readers and force them to leave behind their own convictions and concepts, and to enter into an unfamiliar and probably ‘unsavoury’ vision of the world. The first study will investigate the function...

    • CHAPTER 7 The Language of Czechoslovak Communist Power
      (pp. 92-127)

      Critics of communism have never been rare, but during the Cold War, critics were obliged to find arguments to defend the West, the American way of life, and democracy as we understood it and enjoyed it in Europe. Since the breakdown of the Soviet model, the Western press and public opinion have on the whole tended to conclude that the failure of the USSR and its satellite states logically reflects our own success. ‘We won the Cold War,’ we like to tell ourselves. The Western press hurried to bury Marxism with slogans like ‘Communism is dead!’ And the euphoria of...

    • CHAPTER 8 Hitlerdeutsch: Klemperer and the Language of the Third Reich
      (pp. 128-171)

      In the last chapter we considered the way metaphor helped to shape and structure the worldview of Czech communists in the 1970s. We were, however, forced to accept that we were often dealing with three different kinds of worldview. The Czech language itself, as a network of concepts, conceptual links and linguistic habits, had been remodelled by the forces of the Marxist–Leninist worldview. This was by no means a one-way process: on the contrary, the concepts of ‘people’, ‘folk’ and ‘nation’ which were fundamental to the communist worldview were modelled using the plastic material of the Czech imagination, an...

    • CHAPTER 9 Language in Metaphors
      (pp. 172-235)

      In his sardonic book-length account of the various representations attributed to the French language throughout history, De la langue française (1997), Henri Meschonnic quoted Rivarol, one of the ‘great priests’ who knelt down before the majesty of the French language, celebrating its purity, its clarity, its logic, its perfection and its universality. French at the time of Rivarol (the end of the eighteenth century) was the preferred language of European elites from Madrid to Moscow and was widely used as the language of diplomacy; and this was enough to convince Rivarol that the French language was ‘universal’. It was, he...

    • A Final Word
      (pp. 236-240)

      At the end of this tour of worldviews, what are we to conclude? Ultimately, this will depend, to a large extent, upon our own worldview. The pessimist and the fatalist will conclude that ideology and cultural mindsets are inescapable. From such a perspective, a worldview appears as a confining space, a prison. And, indeed, it seems true that in thinking and in expression, metaphor (one constitutive element of all worldviews) is ubiquitous and inescapable. The social sciences, with their objectifying rhetoric and, not least of all, their conception of the relationship between society and individuals (the ‘products of social processes’),...

  6. Glossary
    (pp. 241-284)
  7. Bibliography
    (pp. 285-300)
  8. Index
    (pp. 301-302)