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
- 2.Why #ReframeCovid? (Mis)use of war metaphors in public and health discourse
- 2.1Communicating an emergency
- 2.2Limitations and drawbacks of the war frame in political and health discourse
- 3.Who is behind the #ReframeCovid initiative and what are its main outcomes so far?
- 3.1Linguists on Twitter
- 3.2The #ReframeCovid collection
- 3.2.1Overview of the collaborative document
- 3.2.2Alternative metaphors: Main source and target domains
- 4.How did the initiative develop and how can it keep growing?
- 4.1Beyond the “academic echo chamber”: Media and social impact of the initiative
- 4.2How to use and credit the #ReframeCovid collection
- 5.Final remarks