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Scenario Negotiation in Online Debates about the European Union

Analysing Metaphor in Communication


Stefanie Vogelbacher

For decades, the focus of Metaphor Studies laid on Conceptual Metaphor and its role in the human conceptual system. This study, however, focuses on metaphor in communication. Its aim is to shed light on how commenters in online debates discuss EU-related topics via Scenario Negotiation, expressing and negotiating their points of view via Metaphorical Scenarios. The study offers a review of current metaphor theory and practical approaches and proposes an Integrated Model of Scenario Negotiation. The results are based on context-sensitive, qualitative analysis of data which stem from a corpus of online debates from the Guardian’s Comment is free section. The discussion illustrates the genre-specific conceptual-communicative functions of Scenario Negotiation in naturally occurring discourse.

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3 Contemporary approaches to metaphor in discourse


The theoretical and methodological questions raised by the discourse-analytical turn are just beginning to be addressed, and the growing concern with methodological issues in particular has led to a plurality of analytical concepts and methodological tools. The aim of this chapter is to give an overview of contemporary discourse-analytical research into metaphor in communication by contrasting three approaches in terms of their research questions, linguistic materials and analytical concepts119: The Discourse Metaphor Approach, The Genre Approach, and the Social-scientific/Applied Approach. What characterises the three approaches?

In terms of Steen’s map of the field, they are concerned with metaphor in discourse as language use, rather than metaphor in grammar: they focus on naturally occurring discourse in communicative situations. Nevertheless, the potential impact of deeply entrenched mappings/Conceptual Metaphors and the bodily basis of primary metaphors are taken into account whenever this contributes to the analysis. The methodologies employed are inductive rather than deductive, starting out from metaphorical linguistic structures in text and talk in order to relate them to potential conceptual structures and to account for their communicative functions – as opposed to searching top-down for realisations of Conceptual Metaphors in naturally occurring discourse data. Of course, the choice of material or discourse contexts investigated is informed by what is known about primary metaphors, Conceptual Metaphors and larger metaphor systems; such knowledge typically motivates research questions. For instance, as cognitive-linguistic research has extensively demonstrated, abstract and complex conceptual domains are often conceptualised via more concrete source domains. Therefore, discourse...

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