Publication details [#18795]

Wackers, Dunja Y. M. and H. José Plug. 2022. Countering Undesirable Implications of Violence Metaphors for Cancer through Metaphor Extension. Metaphor and Symbol 37 (1) : 55–70.
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Article in journal
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Violence metaphors for cancer can have undesirable implications. The metaphorical expression “She lost her battle with cancer,” for instance, is deemed inappropriate by some because of the implicit suggestions it would carry about patients’ responsibility to recover from the disease – if someone “lost” it is inferred they could also have “won” if only they had “fought harder.” The current study explores how language users may use a metaphor extension approach to argue against metaphorical implications they feel are harmful, offensive or otherwise inappropriate. More specifically, this paper will combine recent findings in metaphor research on metaphor extension with two case studies on argumentative resistance to violence metaphors for cancer to illustrate two ways in which these metaphors can be (re)interpreted in such a way that they are in line with language users’ (desired) perspective on the disease. Using analytical tools from Pragma-dialectics, the case studies will demonstrate how a close analysis of expressions of resistance to violence metaphors for cancer that extend these metaphors can 1) help pinpoint the precise metaphorical implications that are being contested in a given case of resistance, and 2) provide an insight into which alternative interpretations are deemed acceptable by the protagonists of resistance.