Article published In:Review of Cognitive Linguistics: Online-First Articles
A mental spaces analysis of religious identity discourse
Religious identity is often viewed as a relatively stable construct, reflecting an individual’s personal worldview. However, individuals living within modern multi-cultural societies often must engage in extensive reflection to orient themselves to faith traditions in ways that are coherent and personally relevant. Although some work has examined the connection between narratives of religious experience, identity and cognition (cf. Richardson, 2012; Richardson & Nagashima, 2018; Richardson & Mueller, 2019), the relationship between thinking and speaking about this identity is still a developing area of enquiry, with important consequences for how religious faith and practice are understood. This article presents a detailed analysis of an interview with a UK-based Jewish woman based on the mental spaces (Fauconnier, 1994) and conceptual blending (Fauconnier & Turner, 2002) frameworks. The analysis shows how mental spaces and the relationship between elements within those spaces emerge over the course of a discourse event so as to constitute a personal account of religious identity. The concluding section furthermore discusses how within- and across-space contrast links are utilized, along with general processes of compression and decompression, to develop a blend that dynamically expresses the interviewee’s religious identity as an integrated and coherent position lying between competing attractor states.
- 1.Introduction and background
- 4.Discussion and conclusion
Published online: 11 July 2023
(2008) Metaphor shifting in the dynamics of talk. In M. S. Zanotto, L. Cameron & M. C. Cavalcanti (Eds.), Confronting metaphor in use: An applied linguistic approach (pp. 45–62). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
(2015) Embracing connectedness and change: A complex dynamic systems perspective for applied linguistic research. AILA Review, 28 (1), 28–48.
Conway, M. A., & Jobson, L.
Fauconnier, G., & Turner, M.
Fillmore, C. J., & Baker, C. F.
Hougaard, G. R.
Larsen-Freeman, D. & Cameron, L.
(2012) A closer walk: A study of the interaction between metaphors related to movement and proximity and presuppositions about the reality of belief in Christian and Muslim testimonials. Metaphor and the Social World, 2 (2), 233–261.
Richardson, P., & Mueller, C. M.
Richardson, P., Mueller, C. M., & Pihlaja, S.
Richardson, P., & Nagashima, M.
(2018) Perceptions of danger and co-occurring metaphors in Buddhist dhamma talks and Christian sermons. In Cognitive Linguistic Studies (Vol. 5, Issue 1, pp. 133–154). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Semino, E., Deignan, A., & Littlemore, J.