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Journal Article

The Mission of Metaphor in Expressive Culture [and Comments and Reply]

James Fernandez, John Blacking, Alan Dundes, Munro S. Edmonson, K. Peter Etzkorn, George G. Haydu, Michael Kearney, Alice B. Kehoe, Franklin Loveland, William C. McCormack, Daniel N. Maltz, Michel Panoff, Richard J. Preston, Charles K. Warriner, Roger W. Wescott and Andras Zakar
Current Anthropology
Vol. 15, No. 2 (Jun., 1974), pp. 119-145
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2740989
Page Count: 27
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Mission of Metaphor in Expressive Culture [and Comments and Reply]
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Abstract

The reappearance of the metaphor concept in ethnologic inquiry suggests the need for a clearer trope-ology than we now possess. Metaphor (and metonym) is defined here as the predication of a sign-image upon any of the set of inchoate pronouns-the essential social subjects. The study of metaphor is the study of the way these subjects take objects unto themselves or are assigned them-the way that, in the parlance of G. H. Mead, they "take the other" (or "another part of themselves" in the case of metonym). The overall mission of metaphor and metonym is to convert pronouns from their inappropriate and inchoate condition, but seven particular missions are to be identified: (1) the providing of an identity for inchoate subjects; (2) the enabling of movement in these subjects; (3) the optimum positioning of these subjects in quality space; (4) the providing of a plan for ritual movement; (5) the filling of frames of social experience; (6) the enabling of the subject to "return to the whole"; (7) the freeing of the subject from a preoccupation with its parts. It is shown that metaphoric and metonymic complexes may be analyzed either (a) in matrix form, by reference to the scenes devised to put metaphoric sign-images into effect and the associations marshalled by each scene, or (b) in formula form, by reference to the transformations in subjects and objects brought about by progressions in the relations between metonymic and metaphoric predications. The view is taken that valid ethnologic inquiry into expressive culture should focus upon the vicissitudes of subjects and objects as they are related in complexes of metaphoric and metonymic predication.

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