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Warring with Words: Narrative and Metaphor in Politics

Scholars in many of the disciplines surrounding politics explicitly utilize either a narrative perspective or a metaphor perspective (though rarely the two in combination) to analyze issues -- theoretical and practical, domestic and international -- in the broad field of politics. Among the topics they have studied are:

  • competing metaphors for the state or nation which have been coined over the centuries in diverse cultures;
  • the frequency with which communal and international conflicts are generated, at least in part, by the clashing religious and historical narratives held by opposing groups;
  • the cognitive short-cuts employing metaphor by which citizens make sense of politics;
  • the need for political candidates to project a convincing self-narrative;
  • the extent to which the metaphors used to formulate social issues determine the policies which will be developed to resolve them;
  • the failure of narratives around the security of the nation to take account of the individual experiences of women and children.

This volume is the first in which eminent scholars from disciplines as diverse as social psychology, anthropology, political theory, international relations, feminist political science, and media studies, have sought to integrate the narrative and the metaphor perspectives on politics.

It will appeal to any scholar interested in the many ways in which narrative and metaphor function in combination as cognitive and rhetorical instruments in discourse around politics.

Book Praise:

"The dynamics of communication and persuasion are overwhelmingly carried by what is said, how arguments are framed, and how factual information is 'spun.' In this timely volume the authors, all leading experts in their respective fields, examine this all important topic of human interaction. A must read for all those with an interest in the processes of social influence and in the secrets of effectively 'saying things with words." - Arie W. Kruglanski, Ph.D., University of Maryland, USA

"This groundbreaking book not only illuminates the discourse of politics but also contributes importantly to research on the cognitive and rhetorical functions of metaphor and narrative more generally." -David Herman, Ph.D., Durham University, UK

"Warring With Words gives a fascinating overview over recent research on metaphor and narrative in political rhetoric and thought. By illustrating the impact of these two levels of rhetoric on current international political discourse as well as on theories of statehood, sovereignty, international relations and conflict, the book shows that conceptualisation of and communication about political issues is impossible without metaphor and narrative. By exploring their epistemological, historical and cognitive dimensions, the volume provides an indispensable platform for further research and academic teaching on Language and Politics." -Andreas Musolff, Ph.D., University of East Anglia, UK

© 2022 Mark Danner