Michael Szurawitzki: Fleck’s Denkstil and Beck’s Metamorphosis Concept Merged: How to Analyze Changes of Societal and Academic Discourses

September 14, 2018
Szurawitzki Colloquium Flier

Michael Szurawitzki
University of Hamburg


Fleck’s Denkstil and Beck’s metamorphosis concept merged: How to analyze changes of societal and academic discourses
The late sociologist Ulrich Beck left to the scientific community, as a sort of legacy, an unfinished manuscript which eventually, in a joint effort of many colleagues, became the monograph The Metamorphosis of the World (Beck 2016). Beck mentions in his book that the ongoing metamorphosis of societies can be detected, among other parameters, on the linguistic level. My talk will address this question first focusing on how Beck defines the concept of metamorphosis and sees implications for linguistic analyses. Then, I will merge Beck’s thoughts with Polish philosopher Ludwik Fleck‘s Entstehung und Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Tatsache (1980) and develop a theoretical framework to analyze practically any societal or academic discourse, combining methods from the field of history, sociology, linguistics, and discourse studies (drawing on Spitzmüller/Warnke’s  2011 DIMEAN multi layer analysis). Fleck has recently been rediscovered by Germanic linguistics (Szurawitzki 2016, Radeiski 2017). The framework developed can lead to different approaches to analyses, which are exemplified in the final part of my talk.  

Beck, Ulrich (2016): The Metamorphosis of the World. Cambridge, Malden, MA: Polity Press.
Fleck, Ludwik (1980) [1935]: Entstehung und Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Tatsache. Einführung in die Lehre vom Denkstil und Denkkollektiv. Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp.
Radeiski, Bettina (2017): Denkstil, Sprache und Diskurse. Überlegungen zur Wiederaneignung Ludwik Flecks für die Diskurswissenschaft nach Foucault. Berlin: Frank & Timme.
Spitzmüller, Jürgen/Warnke, Ingo H. (2011): Diskurslinguistik. Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter.
Szurawitzki, Michael (2016): Entsteht der finnische sprachwissenschaftliche Denkstil aus dem deutschen? Ludwik Fleck als missing link. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 117: 49-62. 

Area of Interest: 
Human Sciences
Intellectual History
Social History
Theory of History