Metaphor and Reconciliation: The Discourse Dynamics of Empathy in Post-Conflict Conversations.
Routledge Studies in Linguistics.
New York, USA: Routledge.
Sixteen years after her father was killed by an IRA bomb, Jo Berry had her first conversation with the man responsible. She had made a long journey, ‘walking the footsteps of the bombers’ as she put it, determined not to give in to anger and revenge but to try to understand his motivations and perspective. Her preparedness to meet Pat Magee opened up a path to empathy that developed through their conversations over the following years. This book studies their growing understandings of each other by focusing on the rich networks of metaphors that appear in their conversations, and how these evolve in the process of reconciliation. The innovative research method, reported in a rigorous but accessible style, together with the rich and often poignant data, make this book a compelling read. In uncovering the development of empathy between these two extraordinary people, it illuminates the moral necessity, and the potential rewards, of persevering in trying to imagine the world and mind of the Other, however challenging we find that to be. Implications are drawn for how mediators in reconciliation contexts might make positive use of metaphor in supporting the dynamics of empathy.
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