Publication details [#14811]

Pasquarelli, Elisa. 2019. Metaphors in action: rhetorical representations in the socio-cultural imagery of the Alzheimer's disease in Western societes. ANUAC 8 (2) : 37–60. 24 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Unica Open Journals


This article provides a thorough overview of the debate on personhood and selfhood in Alzheimer’s disease begun in the 1980s to react to the dissemination of dehumanizing metaphors that framed this health condition as a “loss of self” and the affected individuals as a “non-person”. Theoretical assumptions, phenomenological studies, person-centred programs have criticized the visions of the total devastation of person and self. The author advances that these approaches have shown that the abilities of expression and action are preserved even at relatively advanced stages of the disease. They promoted the acknowledgment of the importance of the affective, social, relational dimensions for the affected persons, their stories of life and their illness experience. Nevertheless, data prove that even these approaches produce stereotypes and the adhesion to the metaphorical constructs is still entrenched. The author analyses these plural discourses and describe the main metaphors used in medical field, providing examples of the representations and rhetorical figures focused on Alzheimer’s disease (and other diseases) and on the affected persons in Western societies.