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Rhetoric, Discourse and Knowledge


Edited By Maria Załęska and Urszula Okulska

The authors of this volume explore rhetorical and discursive strategies used to negotiate and establish legitimate knowledge and its disciplinary boundaries, to make scientific knowledge interesting outside academic settings as well, and to manage (c)overt knowledge in different social and political contexts. The volume focuses on the cultural concept of knowledge society, examining diverse linguistic means of knowledge transmission from the perspective of the complex interplay between knowledge and persuasion. The contributors discuss both sociological and philosophical issues, as well as textual processes in different genres that aim to communicate knowledge.

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Metaphors of SCIENCE in political discourses across the Iron Curtain: A case study of Harold Wilson’s and Edward Gierek’s speeches (Grzegorz Kowalski)


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Grzegorz Kowalski

University of Warsaw

Metaphors of SCIENCE in political discourses across the Iron Curtain

A case study of Harold Wilson’s and Edward Gierek’s speeches

Abstract: The author argues that metaphorical representations of science (e.g., SCIENCE IS ACTOR / THEATRE, SCIENCE IS SERVANT, or SCIENCE IS HUMAN BODY / LIVING ORGANISM) as constructed in political speeches are, in spite of some differences, not specific to a given political system. It is suggested that their use may be influenced by scientistic ideology that claims science’s cognitive omnipotence.

1. Introduction

In the present paper I analyze two political speeches on science delivered by left-wing statesmen: Harold Wilson’s Labour’s Plan for Science (1963) and Edward Gierek’s Nauka instrumentem socjalistycznego rozwoju Polski [‘Science – instrument of socialist development of Poland’] (1973). The research question concerns the usage of metaphors of science therein. It is assumed that to some extent the two political speeches originating in much different political, economic and social contexts may feature similar metaphors, based on the same source domains, inasmuch as the latter belong to the realm of human cognitive system, largely independent of the above-mentioned circumstances. Empirical analysis provides proof to this hypothesis.

The paper starts with a brief discussion, in section 2, on the prevalence of scientistic ideology in political texts on science in the 1960s and 1970s. An outline of recent research on the usage of metaphors in various discourses, in particular...

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