Political imagery of Europe: A house without exit doors?

Musolff, Andreas (2000) Political imagery of Europe: A house without exit doors? Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 21 (3). pp. 216-229. ISSN 0143-4632

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The paper investigates metaphors from a sample of around 100 passages from British and German media texts from the 1990s in which house and construction imagery is employed to describe European policy issues. The analysis shows differences between their use in the national debates as well as two general thematic shifts in the metaphorical concept of Europe-as-a-house which correspond to significant policy changes. First, the concept of the Common European House propagated by M. Gorbachev made room for the vision of a highly integrated EU building soon to be finished. Then, from 1997 onwards, the focus shifted to construction delays to structural deficiencies. The metaphorical 'source domain' of a building thus appears to adapt flexibly to divergent 'target domains'. These findings contradict any deterministic view of 'source domain' structures as constraining the way in which political issues are conceived. In contrast to cognitivist assumptions about a strict internal 'logic' of metaphorical concepts, no one specific interpretation of the house imagery can be said to dominate the EU debate. This points towards the need for a revision of cognitivist metaphor theory as regards the use of metaphors in public discourse.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Language and Communication Studies
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Migration Research Network
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Heritage and History
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Area Studies
Depositing User: Philip Robinson
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2011 15:19
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2023 13:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/25441
DOI: 10.1080/01434630008666402

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