Publication details [#4201]

Döring, Martin. 2002. The Politics of Nature: Constructing the German Reunification During the Great Odra Flood 1997. URL


The paper provides an ecolinguistically oriented analysis of the metaphors used in the German news coverage of the Great Odra Flood 1997. Its theoretical background is outlined in section 2. Here, the author discusses the conception of metaphor in ecolinguistics. He argues for a cognitive-linguistic theory of metaphor (in the tradition of Lakoff and Johnson), more specifically, the onomasiological and discourse-analytic approach represented by Jäkel (1997). Section 3 presents the analysis of the newspaper coverage of the 1997 flood. Döring's focus is on the highly salient and frequent war-related metaphors, in which nature is personified and conceptualised as an enemy. Numerous text examples are provided that illustrate the various pronunciations of the 'man at war with nature' metaphor. The broader socio-political context of the analysis is the representation of the relation between East Germans and West Germans. The concluding section 4 is, inter alia, a critical reflection on ecolinguistics. The author observes that ecolinguistics stands at a crossroads between a biologistic-deterministic strand and an opening towards a discourse oriented approach inspired by Fairclough's critical discourse analysis. (Frank Polzenhagen)