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A war of words in the discourse of trade: A case study of metaphor

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Title: A war of words in the discourse of trade: A case study of metaphor
Author(s): Eubanks, Philip E.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Colomb, Gregory
Department / Program: English
Discipline: English
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Speech Communication Language, General Mass Communications
Abstract: "A War of Words in the Discourse of Trade: A Case Study of Metaphor" challenges basic assumptions that have shaped the study of metaphor from Aristotle to the present. Metaphor has been studied almost exclusively from the point of view of classical rhetoric or twentieth-century linguistics, both of which treat it as a discrete phenomenon. The need to study metaphor in isolation plagues even the best of the new cognitive studies, which--even while recognizing widespread metaphoric patterns--often distill metaphor into the traditional abstraction A is B. This thesis argues that metaphor functions not in isolation, but as an integral part of a larger discursive environment; thus we cannot understand it without considering it as part of a broad range of writing and talk. In order to examine metaphor as it functions concretely, this thesis examines a particularly complex and productive cluster of metaphors grouped under the name sc TRADE IS WAR. It considers sc TRADE IS WAR as it is used in the mainstream press, in trade and academic publications, in current popular fiction, in historical economic commentary, and in a series of eight focus groups composed of a variety of business and non-business people. The data reveal that metaphors compete and converse with each other and that this conversation is always inflected by politics, by philosophy, by ethics, by cultural myths--in short, by the whole of our cultural and conceptual repertoire. Tracing the various movements of sc TRADE IS WAR, the thesis shows that metaphor's discursive environment exerts a crucial force over what theorists since Aristotle have assumed to be independent linguistic micro-systems. Furthermore, it argues that metaphor is understood and deployed in close relation to what the thesis calls licensing stories. These licensing stories are integral to our cognitive and social construction of the world. Therefore, they apply a guiding influence when we endorse, reject, acknowledge and negotiate metaphors.
Issue Date: 1996
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/21310
ISBN: 9780591198041
Rights Information: Copyright 1996 Eubanks, Philip E.
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog: AAI9712264
OCLC Identifier: (UMI)AAI9712264
 

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