Article published in:From Culture to Language and Back: The Animacy Hierarchy in language and discourse
Edited by Laure Gardelle and Sandrine Sorlin
[International Journal of Language and Culture 5:2] 2018
► pp. 302–322
The processes of animation and de-animation in conceptualizing socio-political events
The philosophical idea of anthropocentrism viewing human beings as the most significant entities has been put forward in various metaphor studies within cognitive linguistics. As Talmy (2002) claims, people choose to animate a very large part of their reality and this happens due to embodiment, as Lakoff (1987), and Lakoff and Johnson (1999) argue. Anthropocentricity can also be explained by Croft’s Extended Animacy Hierarchy system (2002) in terms of human beings outranking animate and inanimate entities, strongly implying that inanimate entities tend to be perceived as inferior. However, this paper argues that anthropocentrism is bidirectional, since not only do we ascribe human or animate qualities to inanimate objects or phenomena, but we also tend to “de-animate” human beings by attributing inanimate qualities to them. This paper further explores the idea of anthropocentricity by focusing on the metaphorical conceptualization of issues concerning the euro adoption in 2015 and the refugee crisis in 2015–2016, two real-life phenomena that have significantly affected social life in Lithuania. The paper thus aims to investigate how animation of the euro and de-animation of refugees is metaphorically conceptualized in the Lithuanian media and what rhetorical implications arise from this. The research is conducted within the framework of Critical Metaphor Analysis (Charteris-Black, 2005/2011, 2014; Musolff, 2004; Hart 2010, etc.), which suggests that metaphors are used as an argumentative tool seeking to manipulate the audience. The paper therefore argues that the animation of the euro and “de-animation” of refugees carry serious rhetorical implications and reveal the attitudes of society towards the phenomena analyzed.
Keywords: metaphor, the embodiment hypothesis, Extended Animacy Hierarchy, animation of the euro, de-animation of refugees
- 2.Data and methods
- 3.Metaphor in the discourses of euro adoption and the refugee crisis: Identification and interpretation
- 4.Critical rhetorical implications of animation and de-animation
- 4.1Animation of euro adoption in the Lithuanian media
- 4.2De-animation metaphors for the refugee crisis in the Lithuanian media
- 5.Concluding remarks: Creating a political myth via the euro is a human being and a refugee is an inanimate entity
Published online: 28 June 2018
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