Metaphor and Political Discourse

Analogical Reasoning in Debates about Europe


Far from being rhetorical ornaments, metaphors play a central role in public discourse, as they shape the structure of political categorisation and argumentation. Drawing on a very large bilingual corpus , Andreas Musolff analyses the distribution of 'metaphor scenarios' in more than a decade of public discourse on European integration, elucidating differences in UK and German attitudes and argumentation. The corpus analysis leads to a refinement of cognitive metaphor theory by systematically relating conceptual, semantic and argumentation levels and incorporating the historical dimension of metaphor evolution. Finally, drawing on examples of metaphor negotiation and on a reassessment of Hobbes' concept of metaphor in Leviathan,he highlights the ethical dimension of metaphor in politics.
  • Palgrave Macmillan; August 2004
  • ISBN 9780230504516
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Metaphor and Political Discourse
  • Author: Musolff, Andreas, Professor
  • Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan

In The Press

'...sheds new light on the discursive behaviour of metaphors and highlights the need for rethinking some of the theoretical claims of cognitive linguistics...The analysis is especially fruitful with respect to discourse history.' - Christina Schäffner, University of Aston

'Andreas Musolff's book provides an overview of the impressive expertise the author has gained in the area of discourse analysis on the topic of Europe over the years. It is recommended for anyone interested in discourse analysis, and a valuable source for classes on comparative discourse analysis. The book should also be of interest to cognitive linguists working on metaphor. The author's corpus-based cognitive analysis constitutes a significant methodological contribution to the study of the dynamics of metaphor. Musolff's broad knowledge of metaphor theories in the fields of both linguistics and philosophy as well as his integration of contemporary thinking about language and cognition - e.g., Sperber's 'epidemiology' of representations - make for a stimulating and though-provoking read.' - Dr Jörg Zinken, Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth

'This book combines the strengths of a rigorous linguistic methodology with the intuitive insights of the cognitive linguistic view of metaphor. The result is a fascinating book that provides a new perspective on the study of political discourse.' - Zoltán Kövecses, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary

'Metaphor and Political Discourse is a brilliant achievement for all parties: for the political world to see their work reflected in a magnifying mirror of critical distance; for the Europe Union to see how it stumbles on its journey to its shaky future house; and for scientists to see how conceptual metaphor theory empowers philosophy, psychology, and linguistics, to demonstrate their vital relevance for our understanding of the world at large.' - René Dirven, Emeritus Professor, University of Duisburg

About The Author

ANDREAS MUSOLFF was born in Germany and studied at the universities of Dusseldorf and London. He is Reader in German at the University of Durham and has published widely on the use of figurative language in German and English public discourse. His books include Mirror Images of Europe, Kommunikative Kreativitat and, co-edited, Attitudes Toward Europe.