Picturing Knowledge Society: Meanings of the Metaphors of Knowledge and Technology in the Visual Art Education Products of School-age Students
In my study I will focus on the present information and communication society and discuss the concepts of knowledge, technology, and knowledge society as they are portrayed in Finnish school-age students' visual art education products. The theoretical essence of my work consists of the study of metaphors, in which I will focus on the metaphors and ultimately on the unexpressed presumptions of them: the root metaphors of the knowledge society. Generally speaking the way people perceive the world is basically metaphorical. The idea is supported by Bruner (1983), who views narrative thought and metaphors as the earliest and the most central tools of learning. The carrying idea of my study, however, is presented in Lakoff & Johnson's theory of conceptual metaphors, in which metaphors are viewed as natural models that provide structures for abstract concepts by referring to concrete and familiar objects and experiences (Lakoff and Johnson 1980). In my empirical qualitative analysis of the visual art education products the central questions are: What kind of pictorial metaphors and rhetorical expressions are used, and what kind of cultural meanings are included. In the analysis I will focus on the theory and methodology of structural semiotics, which is an effort to understand sign systems as structures through which the cultural meanings of pictorial narratives and metaphors are produced. In analysing the functional dynamics of the metaphors, I will e.g. refer to Greimas' semiotic square. Initial results of my empirical material will also be reported in the paper. I will take an interdisciplinary approach that will benefit from concepts and views originating in education, visual art education and semiotics.
Keywords: Information / Knowledge society Metaphors, Narration, Semiotics, Knowledge, Technology, Education, Visual art education, Art research
Ms Ulla Oksanen
Researcher, Media Education Centre, Department of Applied Sciences of Education, University of Helsinki