Cattle, progress, and a victimized nation
Exploring metaphors in current and past immigration discourse
This paper analyzes three sources of discourse on immigration in the United States: congressional debates from the 1920s representing two polarized sides, a speech by President Obama, and a speech by President Trump. The goal of this analysis was to explore how the conceptual metaphors used in discussing immigration may have changed over the past century, in order to gain insight into the current polarization surrounding this topic. Results reveal striking similarities between Trump’s rhetoric and metaphorical framing and the 1920s anti-immigration side’s arguments, in that both situate the United States as a victim of immigration. In contrast, although there are fewer similarities between Obama’s metaphors and metaphorical frames and those used by earlier supporters of immigration, the claim that immigrants are a benefit to the United States remains constant.
Keywords: conceptual metaphor theory, metaphorical framing, immigration, United States immigration debate
Published online: 05 November 2019
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Cited by other publications
Atkins, Scott, Ashley Mote, Kimberly Gonzalez & Krystal Alexander
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