For a metaphorical tool to evoke identity: the tomen

Enrico Gandolfi
In my contribution I want to investigate, from a theoretical point of view but also with methodological and practical consequences, the qualitative role of metaphor in social research. As tool able to improve and facilitate the visualization of complex ideas and states of mind, this rhetorical figure permits to obtain more information from interviewed people about topics hard to access in common interviews. This goal can be achieved by the build of the so called “tomen”, an artifact/experience design created by the subject(s) interviewed which represents a gate point from which explore hidden dimensions, individual as diffused. Furthermore, the metaphor offers a strong link to another concept that now in sociology needs an operative dimension, the game: a buzz word that I intend as social frame of experience positioned in an artificial setting, a “magic circle”, able to represent in its operations a collective metaphor which gives us enormous possibilities to configure and set the ground of analysis.

metaphor, social research, qualitative methods, game, tomen

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