Mapping Multivalent Metaphors: Analyzing the Wildnis Metaphor in the Zwischenstadt Discourse in Terms of Political Worldviews

in Nature and Culture
Author: Vera Vicenzotti
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This article presents an approach to mapping multivalent metaphors, that is, metaphors that imply competing values. It suggests that a metaphor's interpretative repertoire can usefully be structured in terms of worldviews derived from political philosophies. To illustrate this approach, the article analyzes how Wildnis (wild nature) is used to refer to the Zwischenstadt (hybrid peri-urban landscapes) in German language planning discourse. It thus makes a contribution toward interpreting and structuring this discourse. After outlining the methodological framework, the article presents certain elements of the interpretative repertoire of Wildnis by outlining selected liberal, Romantic, and conservative interpretations of this metaphor. It then interprets actual statements by urban and landscape planners and designers, reconstructing how they refer to various political interpretations of Wildnis. Finally, it is argued that the approach can benefit planning practice by enhancing frame awareness and by allowing for a systematic analysis of the metaphor's blind spots.