Publication details [#1718]

Lambkin, Brian. 2014. Migration as a Metaphor for Time: Past, Present and Future. Metaphor and the Social World 4 (2) : 245–264. 20 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Amsterdam: John Benjamins


A previous article about the use of migration as a metaphor was concerned particularly with migration as a metaphor for metaphor (Lambkin, 2012). Here the concern is with migration as a metaphor for time, particularly as a metaphor for accessing the past and the future from the present. Two related dominant or guiding metaphors are identified: the past/future is a foreign country and the past/future is a lost /undiscovered world. The procedure adopted is to look first at how the novelist L.P Hartley and the historian Peter Laslett respectively developed these metaphors in “The Go-between” (1953) and “The World we have Lost” (1965). Then consideration is given to the analysis of the discourse in which these metaphors are used by the cultural geographer David Lowenthal, particularly in his “The Past is a Foreign Country” (1985). Finally, the metaphors of travelling between present and past and travelling between present and future are discussed in relation to the discipline of migration studies and a proposal is made for re-framing time past, present and future, in terms of migration.