Metaphors—Messengers of Meaning: A Contribution to an Evolutionary Sociology of Science

Sabine Maasen, Peter Weingart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Based on the idea that the central link between science and society is one established by a diffusion of knowledge, the authors present an outline of what might be called an evolutionary sociology of knowledge. The proposal is first to make use of the concept of metaphor whose characteristic features are well known within the literary realm. By introducing an unfamiliar analogy into a new context, both the metaphorical concept and the context challenge eventually may change each other. The authors claim that knowledge transfers, in general, might be analyzed in a similar fashion. Second, such a metaphor analysis of units of knowledge should be combined with discourse analysis as well as central concepts of evolutionary theory to uncover the institutionalized mechanisms by which certain bodies of knowledge become processed selectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-31
Number of pages23
JournalScience Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1995
Externally publishedYes


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