The #ReframeCovid initiative
From Twitter to society via metaphor
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments, health agencies, public institutions and the media around the world have made use of metaphors to talk about the virus, its effects and the measures needed to reduce its spread. Dominant among these metaphors have been war metaphors (e.g. battles, front lines, combat), which present the virus as an enemy that needs to be fought and beaten. These metaphors have attracted an unprecedented amount of criticism from diverse social agents, for a variety of reasons. In reaction, #ReframeCovid was born as an open, collaborative and non-prescriptive initiative to collect alternatives to war metaphors for COVID-19 in any language, and to (critically) reflect on the use of figurative language about the virus, its impact and the measures taken in response. The paper summarises the background, aims, development and main outcomes to date of the initiative, and launches a call for scholars within the metaphor community to feed into and use the #ReframeCovid collection in their own basic and applied research projects.
Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, war metaphors, alternative framings, open-source initiative
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Published online: 08 September 2021
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