The social glue and the social fabric, as well as the suggestion that society can hang together or drift apart, exemplify the central place of metaphorical illustrations for ordinary conceptions of society. The social is intangible and to be made comprehensible it relies on metaphors that are ‘redolent of physical, mechanical, chemical, and biological imagery’ (Wrong 1994, 4). In this it is not different from other social abstractions, including the state, the nation or the people. Invisible institution and cultural forms obtain their reality through the use of metaphor, which mediates our relationship with things that would otherwise be abstract, meaningless or incomprehensible. Metaphors, as Donald Schön (1979, 254) suggests, account ‘for our perspectives on the world: how we think about things, make sense of reality, and set the problems we later try to solve’.


Social Cohesion Policy Problem Common Agency Community Cohesion Metaphorical Imagination 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Jan Dobbernack 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Dobbernack
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.European University InstituteUK
  2. 2.University of LincolnUK

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