Metaphorizing violence in the UK and Brazil: a contrastive discourse dynamics study

Cameron, Lynne; Pelosi, Ana and Moraes Felta, Heloisa Pedroso de (2014). Metaphorizing violence in the UK and Brazil: a contrastive discourse dynamics study. Metaphor and Symbol, 29(1) pp. 23–43.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10926488.2014.859048

Abstract

As part of a project investigating responses to uncertainty produced by violence and conflict, the use of metaphor in talk about violence in everyday life is compared across the contexts of terrorism in the UK and urban violence in Brazil. Data come from two studies. The UK study (n = 96) was carried out in 2006, following the July 2005 London bombings. The smaller Brazil study (n = 11) was carried out in 2010 in the north-eastern Brazilian city of Fortaleza which, like many Brazilian cities, has a high level of urban violence, including muggings, kidnappings and street robberies. Participants met in focus groups with a moderator and responded to a series of questions about how terrorism had changed their perceptions of risk, the decisions they made in their daily lives and their attitudes to other social groups. Recordings were transcribed and, in the second study, translated from Brazilian Portuguese into English for a bi-lingual analysis. Metaphor-led discourse analysis (Cameron et al, 2009) identified verbal metaphor vehicles produced when discussing issues around violence. Verbal metaphors were grouped into systematic metaphors. Comparisons were made of metaphor vehicles and of systematic metaphors. Findings show 16 vehicle groupings used with similar frequencies; 15 vehicle groupings used more than twice as often in UK data; and 14 vehicle groupings used more than twice as often in Brazil data. Qualitative analysis shows how the different contexts, cultures, and types of violence are reflected in, and constructed through, use of metaphor.

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