Home | Selected Sources and Links | Metaphor and Social Change

Metaphor and Social Change

Bookmark and Share

For a good basic introduction to the field of metaphor studies, with an emphasis on social change and politics,see the references below. This section includes the following topics: Metaphor and Framing, Metaphor Brainstorming as a Technique, Metaphor and Computer Studies, Metaphor and Myth, Some Specific Metaphors and Their Impact, and Pictorial, Visual and Multimodal Metaphor.

Metaphor and Framing

Duncombe, Stephen, Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy, The New Press, 2007, 230 pp.

Gilette, Kyle, Modern Progressive Values, Commonweal Institute, June, 2008, 39 pp.

Hawken,Paul, Blessed Unrest, Viking, New York, 2007, 343 pp.

Horn, Bernie, Framing Our Future, Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco, 2008, 175 pp.

Johnson, Mark, Philosophical Perspectives on Metaphor, U. of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1981, 361 pages.

Lakoff, George, The Political Mind, Viking, New York, 2008, 292 pp.

Lakoff, George, Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2006, 176 pages.

Lakoff, George, Whose Freedom? The Battle Over America's Most Important Idea, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, New York, 2006, 277 pages.

Lakoff, George, Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, Chelsea Green, White River Junction, VT, 2004, 144 pages.

Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh, Basic Books, New York, 1999, 624 pages. An in-depth cognitive science approach to how we think and communicate.

Lakoff, George, 'The Body Politic,' Whole Earth Review, fall, 1999, pp 23-25.

Lakoff, George, Moral Politics, University of Chicago Press, 413 pages, 1996. Lakoff analyses the family metaphors that carry the basic worldviews of both American liberals and conservatives, and makes a case for one being more effective than the other.

Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, University of Chicago Press, 1980, 242 pp. The classic scientific exploration of how we use metaphors in daily speech and thinking.

'Metaphors and Simplifying Models,'in Chapter III, Thinking Strategically About Framing, Framing Public Issues, found at http://www.frameworksinstitute.org

Miller, Anne, Metaphorically Selling, Chiron Associates, New York, 2004, 168 pp.

Richards, I.A, The Philosophy of Rhetoric, Oxford University Press, New York, 1936, 138 pp.

http://www.uia.org - Look on this site under Projects, then Regular and Continuing Activities, for the section on Metaphors And Patterns. This Web site component has a vast treasure trove of international resources on the use of metaphor as a tool for governance and social change, put together by members of the Union of International Associations.

Westen, Drew, The Political Brain, PublicAffairs, New York, 2007, 457 pp.

Whole Earth Review, 'Metaphors and Morality,' special section in the Fall, 1999 issue.

Zaltman, Gerald, and Zaltman, Lindsay, Marketing Metaphoria, Harvard Business Press, Boston, MA, 2008, 219 pp.

Metaphor Brainstorming as a change technique:

http://www.brainstorming.co.uk/tutorials/historyofbrainstorming.html and


Metaphor and Computer Studies

The field of metaphor studies, already vast, is today the subject of intense new interest, partly as a result of cognitive scientist George Lakoff's demonstration that metaphor makes up the body of almost all our daily communication and thinking in every kind of endeavor, including politics. Another source of current excitement is the fact that computer software and Web site designers have now become aware of the importance of metaphor in their own work. The result is an explosion of books and Web sites on these topics, which can be found by searching the web with the word 'metaphor.'

Metaphor and Myth:

Armstrong, Karen, A Short History of Myth, Canongate, New York, 2005, 159 pp.

Campbell, Joseph: The list of Campbell's applicable works is enormous. Try Google.

Levi-Strauss, Claude, The Raw and The Cooked, U. of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1969, 402 pp.

Keleman, Stanley, Myth and the Body: A Colloquy with Joseph Campbell, Center Press, Berkeley, CA, 1999, 89 pp.

Pepper, Stephen C.,World Hypotheses, U. of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1942, 348 pp.

Some Specific Metaphors and Their Impact:

Abdullah, Sharif, Creating a World That Works for All, Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco, 1999, 226 pp.

Allen, Penny, with Christophe Bonazzi and David Gee, ed., Metaphors For Change, Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield, UK, 2001, 326 pp. This book covers green metaphors in business settings; good case studies included.

Bernbaum, Edwin, 'Peak Paradigms‚ Mountain Metaphors of Leadership and Team Work, (or 'Lessons from the Top: Mount Fuji, Mount Sinai, and Other Peak Paradigms,' published in Upward Bound: Nine Original Accounts of How Business Leaders Reached Their Summits, ed. Michael Useem, Jerry Useem, and Paul Asel., New York, Crown Business, 2003

Bernbaum, Edwin, Sacred Mountains of the World, Sierra Club, San Francisco, 1990, 291 pp.

Briskin, Alan, Chris Strutt, and Joan Lederman, Centered On The Edge, The Collective Wisdom Initiative and the Fetzer Institute, 2001. This very interesting book of pattern stories, principles, quotations, and photographs of art or nature also contains a number of specialized metaphor cluster lists:


Popper, Deborah E. and Frank J., 'The Buffalo Commons, Using Regional Metaphor to Envision the Future', Wild Earth, Winter 99-00, pp. 30-37. See also: Anne Mathews, Where The Buffalo Roam, Grove, New York, 1992, 193 pp.

The Metaphors Dictionary, ed. Elyse Sommer and Dorrie Weiss, Visible Ink, 1996. See especially the list in the back of everyday metaphors.

Evolutionary Biology: For sample metaphors drawn from evolutionary biology for transforming business see: http://www.sahtouris.com

Dictionary of the Future
,ed. Faith Popcorn and Adam Hanft, Hyperion, 2000. This book mainstreams the words and ideas of Bioneers and of Ecological Footprint work, among many other progressive ideas.

Pictorial, Visual and Multimodal Metaphor:

Search Google Images for 'Visual Metaphor' and Google Web for 'Theory of Visual Metaphor.'

YouTube at
http://www.youtube.com/ is an increasingly rich source of visual metaphor as well. Search for: visual metaphor. See also:





Links to other Selected Sources sections: Language and Media Work, Framing, American Studies, Sources for Free Polling Results