A journey towards employment
Metaphorical representations of social welfare in New Zealand
Metaphor plays a prominent role in political rhetoric, often used to simplify complex issues and encourage familiarity with various topics (Mio, 1997). Its persuasive and manipulative uses in political discourse are also well documented (Charteris-Black, 2005). Studies of political discourse based on Lakoff and Johnson’s (1980) Conceptual Metaphor Theory are numerous; however, little metaphor research has been completed in the New Zealand political context. Theexploratory study outlined in this paper addresses this need through an investigation of the metaphorical representation of social welfare and its beneficiaries in New Zealand political discourse. A corpus of texts is collected and analysed using the Metaphor Identification Procedure(MIP) (Pragglejaz Group, 2007), and corpus-wide patterns are refined into a systematic metaphor framework (Cameron, 2008). Journeymetaphors, being the most frequent example of figurative language identified, are held to be central to the language of reform in New Zealand, supported primarily by metaphorsof mobility and health. The goal of the Government’s reform journey is identified as a state of employment, and barriers to arrival at this destination are framed as mobility and health issues. Such metaphorsare considered discriminatory, portraying beneficiaries and the social welfare system in a particularly negative light.
Published online: 07 September 2012
Cited by 6 other publications
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