Publication details [#15036]

Huang, Yun and Yang Hu. 2021. Identity from “Opposition”: The Logic of Social Governance in the War Metaphor. Journalism & Communication Review 74 (1) : 96–106. 11 pp.
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News reports have constructed a major public health event in China in early 2020 through a rhetorical framework. Taking the news texts and discourses related to major domestic public health events in early 2020 as the research object, using discourse analysis methods, the use of war metaphoric rhetoric and identity rhetoric in relevant news discourses is studied. The study found that because of the “enemy-antagonism” context formed by war metaphors, “identification by antithesis” became the most prominent rhetoric strategy for identity. The “antagonism” between human and virus set off the words that guide identification by sympathy, and also became the basis for identification by inaccuracy. Under such a rhetorical framework, the front line personnel with epidemic prevention and control were portrayed as wartime spiritual leaders (such as Zhong Nanshan), wartime “rushing troops” (such as medical personnel, military and police), and the epidemic prevention and control process was constructed to constitute". The resistance process of the “Wartime Alliance” has played a governance role in easing social anxiety and alleviating social conflicts. The governance logic of war metaphor comes from the shaping of “others” and “we” in the context of binary opposition, creating and awakening identities by means of fragmentation, and forming internal solidarity to achieve relative stability in society. Of course, the war metaphors only draw the audience attention to a conceptual system that conforms to the war narrative, and accordingly ignore other aspects of the epidemic that do not conform to the concept of war. In addition, issues such as new racism, social cognition imbalances, and human chauvinism are also linked to the universal use of war metaphors to a certain extent. Therefore, it is particularly important to be wary of the dispersion of war metaphors among and within ethnic groups, and to beware of new racism and caring for the symbiosis of man and nature. In addition, metaphor itself is a rhetorical technique that emphasizes one side and obscures the other, so there must also be vigilant social cognition imbalance brought by excessive war metaphors and neglect of social problems. In short, war metaphors provide a figurative and directional cognitive environment for identity, and identity becomes the internal mechanism by which war metaphors play a social role. On the basis of “rhetoric serves intent”, classical rhetoric and new rhetoric are able to dialogue.