Publication details [#5251]

Gónzalez, Rafael Alejo. 2008. Spatial metaphors in economics discourse: A more 'linguistic' approach.
Publication type
Unpublished manuscript
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Extremadura, Spain


Economics discourse has received significant attention by both linguists and economists, who generally agree on the capital role of metaphor in this special language (Backhouse, Dudley-Evans, & Henderson, 1993; Dudley-Evans & Henderson, 1990; Dudley-Evans, 1993; Dudley-Evans & St John, 1998; Henderson & Dudley-Evans, 1990; Henderson, Backhouse, & Dudley-Evans, 1993; Hewings, 1990; Mason, 1990; Swales, 1993). However, a review of the literature (Lindstromberg, 1991; Boers, 2000; Henderson, 1986; Boers, 1997; Charteris-Black, 2001; Charteris-Black, 2000) shows that, in general terms, economists and linguists work at different levels of analysis and that they may have not been referring to the same thing, mainly because the latter have based their conclusions on journalistic texts, while the former have focussed on texts which, they argue, constitute the core of the discipline (McCloskey, 1985, 1994; Mirowski, 1989). In this paper I first propose to separate Economics discourse from other related discourses and then to identify the spatial metaphors that can be derived from some of the most important models in economic thinking (e.g. the Circular Flow of Income). It also be shows that metaphor is not only a capital resource in the creation of terminology of this special language but yet another rhetorical device, like the passive voice or hypotheticality, used by economists to achieve the depersonalization programme, initiated by the mechanistic school with the intention of bringing the discipline closer to the hard sciences. A 'linguistic' approach (Cameron, 2003; Cameron & Deignan, 2006) to metaphor is, then, not only important for general texts but also for specialized ones, especially if one is dealing with one of the specialized discourses with greater prestige and influence on society at large. (Rafael Alejo Gónzalez)