Analysis of Conceptual Metaphors in the Political Discourse of Daily Newspapers: Structure, Function, and Emotional Appeal (Ma Thesis)

160 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2014

See all articles by Vladimir Figar

Vladimir Figar

University of Nis, Faculty of Philosophy, English Department

Date Written: October 4, 2013

Abstract

The present paper explores the structure, function, and the potential of conceptual metaphors in the political discourse of daily newspapers to provoke an emotional reaction with the electorate, i.e. readers. The two groups of metaphors that are investigated include CONFLICT and SPORT metaphors. Consequently, the corpus consists of metaphorical expressions corresponding to the two previously mentioned conceptual keys, extracted from the on-line editions of The New York Times during December 2011. The paper resides on an integrated theoretical framework that encompasses the basic tenets of the Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT), the fully developed model of the Conceptual Blending Theory (CBT), and the Conceptual Act Theory of Emotion. Additionally, basic tenets of the Circumplex Model of Affect and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) are also utilized. The present research is conducted in two stages: 1) metaphorical expressions from the corpus are analyzed in terms of their structure and function through the concomitant use of the CMT and CBT models; 2) building on the Conceptual Act Theory of Emotion, Russell’s circumplex, and the PANAS model, the second stage of the research uses appropriate questionnaires to test whether the metaphorical expressions extracted from the corpus can provoke an actual tangible emotional reaction with the experimental subjects. The reaction is measured in terms of affect, and in terms of specific emotion concepts. Such research design is meant to reveal both the cognitive mechanisms that underlie the construction of metaphorical conceptual integration networks, and the mechanisms that facilitate the development of an emotional response. Furthermore, the results obtained from the two parts of the present research are compared and investigated for potential points of intersection. Additionally, the results of the present study are also compared against the results obtained from the previous research in the field, predominantly conducted within the CMT framework. Finally, the paper also presents additional evidence in favor of the joint use of the CMT and the CBT frameworks. Based on the analyses, it can be concluded that all metaphorical conceptual integration networks from the present corpus appeared as single-scope networks. Additionally, a high degree of systematicity of emergent structures was also recorded, which was accounted for by the highly entrenched nature of the two conceptual keys, and links were established with the systematic nature of compression. The two main cognitive mechanisms that facilitate the creation of an emotional reaction are backward projections and coupled elaboration, which in turn enable metaphors to function as powerful persuasive tools. The second part of the research revealed that metaphorical expressions from the corpus can provoke a certain degree of an emotional response with the readers, i.e. experimental subjects. In addition, the recorded reactions also showed a certain degree of consistency. In conclusion, metaphor poses as a powerful rhetorical tool that can influence individuals’ reasoning and behavior by influencing their emotional and affective states. Future research should attempt to further reveal the nature of interaction between the processes of meaning and emotion construction.

Note: Unpublished MA Thesis.

Keywords: conceptual metaphor, conceptual blending, compression, emergent structure, network optimization, human scale, political discourse of daily newspapers, emotional response, affect

Suggested Citation

Figar, Vladimir, Analysis of Conceptual Metaphors in the Political Discourse of Daily Newspapers: Structure, Function, and Emotional Appeal (Ma Thesis) (October 4, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2464713 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2464713

Vladimir Figar (Contact Author)

University of Nis, Faculty of Philosophy, English Department ( email )

Cirila i Metodija 2
Nis, 18000
Serbia

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