Crossing the Finite Provinces of Meaning. Experience and Metaphor

Journal article
(Original article)

Publication Details

Author(s): Sebald G
Journal: Human Studies
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
Publication year: 2011
Volume: 34
Journal issue: 4
Pages range: 341-352
ISSN: 0163-8548
eISSN: 1572-851X


Schutz’s references to literature and arts in his theoretical works are manifold. But literature and theory are both a certain kind of a finite province of meaning, that means they are not easily accessible from the paramount reality of everyday life. Now there is another kind of referring to literature: metaphorizing it. Using it, as may be said with Lakoff and Johnson, to understand and to experience one kind of thing in terms of another. Literally metapherein means “to carry over”. Metaphorizing in this view is then a specific kind of border-crossing between different provinces of meaning. That poses two questions: 1. What means finiteness of those provinces of meaning, what kind of border crossings are possible? What is the ground for metaphorizing meaning? 2. Could this concept used for founding a theory of the constitution of the societal and of society, that overcomes the dichotomy of structure/agency? These questions will be answered with one example in view: Schutz’ report to Kaufmann of his first visit of Husserl describing his experience as feeling like Wilhelm Meister at the Society of the Tower. In a first step this metaphor is presented together with some crumbs of metaphor theory. In a second step these crumbs will be connected to Husserl’s concept of experience. After developing a short overview over Schutz’ “finite provinces of meaning,” the relation of experience, metaphors to the intersubjectivity of these provinces in their dependence from writing and printing is discussed.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Sebald, Gerd Prof. Dr.
Lehrprofessur für Soziologie

How to cite

Sebald, G. (2011). Crossing the Finite Provinces of Meaning. Experience and Metaphor. Human Studies, 34(4), 341-352.

Sebald, Gerd. "Crossing the Finite Provinces of Meaning. Experience and Metaphor." Human Studies 34.4 (2011): 341-352.


Last updated on 2018-10-08 at 23:39

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