The body politic of independent Scotland
National personification and metaphor as ideological visions
The creation of national personifications is a political act that informs us about ideological and cognitive strategies underpinning nation-building. Many European nations are associated with national personifications, but Scotland stands out by not having a tradition of representing the nation in this way. The 2014 independence referendum began to change that, and national personifications featured, not only in the main pro-independence campaign material, but in the visual profile of many new, radical organizations. These personifications also raise questions about the use of metaphor in political discourse. By combining multimodal metaphor and metonymy analysis with interviews with artists who have designed Scottish personifications for the independence movement, this article investigates how new Scottish body politic metaphors were constructed during the campaign. This methodology increases our understanding of the wider context of the referendum, and aids the interpretation of national personifications by providing arguments for interpretation. The analysis shows that body politic metaphors used in the campaign draw on traditional Scottish symbols, but traditional body politic metaphor types are subverted, typically concerning gender roles, in order to convey messages that are relevant in a contemporary political landscape.
Keywords: metaphor, metonymy, multimodality, National Collective, nationalism, Yes Scotland
Published online: 23 October 2018
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