Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Thomas, Jim, 1941-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Sociology


Quinney; Richard; Sociology--Methodology; Metaphor


Social scientists have traditionally employed a variety of strategies to examine the intellectual history of their discipline. Using such topics as theory, paradigm, "perspective," ideology, or Weltanschauung, researchers have presented many descriptions of the intellectual changes in the social sciences. With but a few exceptions the concept of metaphor has not been employed by sociologists of knowledge. Therefore, this project is exploratory, and represents a preliminary attempt to raise and initially address issues in the emerging field of metaphoric analysis. Focusing on criminological theory, this thesis attempts to assess the utility of metaphoric analysis and then apply it to a specific body of ideas. The goal is to clarify the conceptual understanding of metaphor and to explore the extent to which an analysis of metaphoric constructs is useful for the clarification of theoretical change and development. This work reflects a dual methodology. First, drawing from the works of selected writers who have attempted in various ways to apply the concept, and especially focusing on the work of Richard Brown, this thesis attempts to develop a conceptual analysis of metaphor as an analytic tool. Second, a content analysis of all the available works of Quinney will be performed, particularly examining the metaphors and the transitions of thought these reflect. This is done by identifying the chronological periods at which metaphoric shifts occurred, and then describing the ontological and epistemological shifts corresponding to these chronological ruptures. This thesis suggests that lack of attention to shifts of the metaphoric structure of Quinney's theories has masked the importance of certain theoretical changes and led to misunderstanding of the theories themselves. While one of the major tasks of the analysis is to show that metaphoric structure is a useful tool to increase our understanding of the theoretical development of one theorist, more important are the implications for its use in understanding the process and product of theoretical development in general. It may be that a greater awareness of the metaphoric structure of theory will yield more useful theories.


Bibliography : pages 37-39.


iv, 39 pages




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