Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate – Ways of charting discourse coherence in a complex metaphor field
In 2005, referenda about the EU’s constitutional treaty were held in several European countries, which resulted in a No vote in France and the Netherlands and which left the European polity both devastated and clueless. The present essay describes metaphors in British journalism beginning with the year before the referenda and ending a few months after them. In 675 examined newspaper articles from the Sun and the Guardian, mostly commentaries, diverse conceptual patterns are found that belong to five major headings (= metaphoric target domains): the EU as political entity, the EU constitutional treaty, the process of EU integration, the impact of the No votes on the European polity, and pro- or anti-constitution campaigning prior to the referenda. A software-assisted and full-scale survey of metaphors is undertaken to identify recurrent conceptual metaphor patterns. This is followed by a theoretical analysis that aims to exemplify how cross-buttressing tendencies in the metaphor field, i.e. coherence between conceptual metaphors, can be charted out. The basic insight underlying this is that metaphors not emanating from the same conceptual metaphor can still entertain important conceptual relations with each other, for example because their inferences fit together or because they partake of a single “metaphorically told” story. With this in mind, the basic data is screened for coherence patterns that further weave together the discourse fabric. Metaphor scenarios and narrative connections play a major role here. Other mechanisms of importance relate to generic similarities between target and source domains, metaphor composition, as well as looser kinds of metaphor pastiche.
Im Jahr 2005 wurden in mehreren Ländern Referenden über den EU Verfassungsvertrag abgehalten, die in Frankreich und den Niederlanden in einem Nein resultierten und damit die Europäische Politik erschüttert und ratlos zurückließen. Der gegenwärtige Essay zeichnet Metaphern des britischen Journalismus nach, beginnend im Jahr vor den Referenden und bis hin zu ein paar Monaten danach. In den 675 untersuchten Zeitungsartikeln aus der Sun und dem Guardian, zumeist Kommentaren, werden verschiedene konzeptuelle Muster augenfällig, die fünf großen Gruppen (= metaphorischen Zielbereichen) zuzuordnen sind: die EU als politische Institution, der EU Verfassungsvertrag, der Prozess der EU Integration, die Auswirkungen des Neins auf die Europäische Politik, sowie die Pro- bzw. Anti-Verfassungskampagnen vor den Referenden. Es wird ein vollständiger und durch Software unterstützter Überblick mit dem Ziel unternommen, alle systematisch auftauchenden konzeptuellen Metaphern zu identifizieren. Daran knüpft eine theoretische Analyse an, die darauf abzielt aufzuweisen, wie Querverstrebungen im Metaphernfeld, d.h. kohärente konzeptuelle Metaphern, erfasst werden können. Die zugrundeliegende Einsicht hierfür ist, dass Metaphern, die nicht aus der gleichen konzeptuellen Metapher hervorgehen, dennoch wichtige semantische Verbindungen unterhalten können, etwa weil sie ähnliche Inferenzen nahelegen oder weil sie Teil einer gemeinsamen „metaphorisch erzählten“ Geschichte sind. Die Basisdaten werden folglich auf Kohärenzmuster geprüft, welche den Diskurs enger verweben. Metaphernszenarien und narrative Verstrebungen spielen hierbei eine wichtige Rolle. Weitere wichtige Mechanismen beziehen sich auf generische Ähnlichkeiten zwischen Ziel- und Quellbereichen, Metaphernkomposition, sowie lockerere Metaphernzusammensetzungen.
Discourse may be likened to a fabric. We may perhaps think of it as a plaid with many intricate patterns, multiple layers of diverse hues that partly overlap, with frayed and threadbare parts at the fringes, or even an occasional loophole, but a plaid that is tightly interwoven in its center and that blends into a dominant coloration when looked at from a distance. Systematic metaphor analysis is suitable for looking at how the woof and warp of this fabric is constituted. Wielding its tools in the proper way, metaphor analysis can illuminate that discourses, although they are never hermetic or of a single piece, turn out patterned, exhibit a plethora of internal connections, delimit the boundaries of a theme, and enable opinion diversity within these limits.
My present topic, the animated and long standing debate around the EU constitution and, more generally, the EU’s future direction represents a discourse field replete with connected metaphor patterns. Part 2 of this paper sets the stage for the subsequent analysis by surveying conceptual metaphors in British EU related journalism. Part 3 then will take up the challenge of reconstructing further coherence relations between these conceptual metaphors (or discourse metaphors, as Zinken et al. 2008 prefer to call the more time- and topic-bound manifestations). My aim is to systematically chart possible affinities, so as to contribute to a metaphor-based theory of discourse coherence. Studying coherence means looking for thematic connections across text passages and whole texts, in order to piece together generative conceptual structures that discourse participants are likely to share.1 Others have undertaken similar efforts in the wake of Lakoff and Johnson’s (1980:87-105) seminal discussion of image-schematic and entailment based coherence. What motivates the present effort is the lasting need for data from a corpus that is sufficiently large, metaphorically diverse, and argumentatively complex
1 In opting for a coherence based analysis, I take one of two possible avenues to the study of discourse. The alternative of a cohesion-based analysis I will only briefly touch upon towards the end of this paper. It examines the details of selected text passages and looks at how adjacent metaphors become interwoven within arguments. Other than this, the present paper leaves the question aside of whether logically coherent metaphors surface in textual adjacency, further apart in a text, or in altogether different articles. Note that a more thorough cohesion-based analysis of my data is undertaken in Kimmel (2009).
Kimmel, Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate
enough. To date, theoretical treatments of coherence seem to be limited in one of two ways: Either they are based on compilations from large machine readable corpora or databases such as Goatly’s formidable study (2007),2 thereby cutting across various thematic sources. Or, they single out certain types of metaphor from a thematic corpus, such as Koller’s (2003) programmatic study. While the former approach tends to misrepresent thematic discourses in their inner argumentative coherence, the latter approach shortchanges the need for comprehensiveness. My conviction is that coherence is best understood by examining a single discourse full-scale, especially if we aim to survey the types of “conceptual glue” that metaphors produce. In this spirit, this paper presents an as comprehensive as possible guide to coherence- creating mechanisms that is capable of pointing researchers to patterns they can probe their own data for.
A higher-level coherence analysis of a corpus can ensue only after the major metaphor sets have been comprehensively identified, analyzed with care, and checked for their argumentative variants. To facilitate this, a cut-to-size manual tagging method was implemented in the qualitative annotation software Atlas.ti and applied full-scale to the texts (which is unlike how corpus linguists use their software). Atlas.ti allows multidimensional metaphor tagging and heightens the precision of data retrieval and pattern searches.
1.1 The EU referenda
In 2005, the first round of referenda about the EU’s constitutional treaty was held in several European countries – a treaty that, in the minds of its originators, was to create a stronger fundament for the Union, to make it manageable in face of the on-going enlargement, and to augment its international clout. The treaty’s rejection in the Netherlands and France in
2 Goatly uses his on-line database METALUDE to identify mutually supportive and antithetical relations between ideologically potent conceptual metaphors themes, as he calls them. The merits include a systematic consideration of how specific patterns spin-off from more basic ones (e.g. SEXUALLY ATTRACTIVE WOMEN ARE FOOD from HUMANS ARE COMMODITIES), and a consideration of interactions between conceptual metaphors themes, similar to my present focus.
May 2005 triggered a crisis in the EU polity that had put all its chips on a Yes vote. Even though the post-referenda period saw the European Union in one of its worst moments, the No votes enlivened the debate and led to an unprecedented surge of public discourse. In the UK, a country with a tradition of impassioned EU skepticism, the polity and the public hotly debated the role of British sovereignty, the involved stakes of the British government, as well as the possibility of holding a national referendum on the constitution. The interested parties included Tony Blair’s government, the Tory opposition, several NGOs and European institutions, and last but not least Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. In many ways, the debate came down to a battle over Europe vs. Britain’s splendid isolation. Not surprisingly, we find arguments about Europe interwoven with domestic issues, e.g. the impact of a possible UK referendum on Blair’s career. Overall, the diversity of protagonists and positions made for a rich debate in which many diverging scenarios arise and in which individuals continuously comment on or contest other opinions. From the viewpoint of metaphor, all combatants on the media front were able to draw on established EU metaphors, but had to put them to use in diverse ways depending both on their views and the changes in the political conditions. A broad, but not limitless range of metaphors had to accommodate a wealth of opinions, making for many creative extensions of conventional metaphors. The high emotional load of the British relations to the EU is frequently reflected in rhetorically elaborate metaphors. Finally, the topical complexity made for an intermingling of EU metaphors with related metaphors as well as for many complex multi-metaphor arguments.
Several studies have approached metaphors of the EU through corpus data
(e.g., Chilton & Ilyin 1993, Schäffner 1993, Musolff 2004, Bärtsch 2004, Reining
2005). They have demonstrated that the EU is commonly seen in terms of a body, a house, a family, or a journey, among other things. The present study will both validate these findings (with the notable absence of family metaphors) and extend them by looking at argumentative variants unique to our 2004/05 context. The study is also specific for the fact that it takes interest not only in the metaphoric target domain “EU”. It includes the surrounding discursive field, notably views on the constitution, EU integration, the two ill- fated referenda, and the style of the debate. These additional target domains tie in with the pressing question “Quo vadis, Europe?”, but present a much broader range of metaphoric reasoning. As we shall see, including them
Kimmel, Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate
provides us with an increased grasp of the discourse context and with a more faithful picture of its complex inner links. (Note that another target domain that figures in the overall metaphor count in Table 1 below, the broader metaphors for general politics and politicians, remains excluded here due to space constraints.)
The background to this paper is a seven nation study of the EU constitutional referenda, the debate preceding them, and their crisis ridden aftermath, covering the period from mid June 2004 to mid September 2005. A team at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute of European Integration Research applied qualitative content analysis to national newspaper corpora from France, Sweden, Poland, Austria, Portugal, the UK, and Ireland over these 15 months and compared the results. Each national corpus consisted of a yellow press and a quality paper (Mokre et al. 2006, cf. Bruell et al. 2009). In a smaller sub- project, I compared the metaphors found in the British corpus to the results of the content analysis data. This sub-project is what is reported on here.3
The British corpus came from the on-line versions of the influential and decidedly anti-EU yellow press paper Sun as well as the liberal broadsheet The Guardian and The Observer, its weekend edition. Articles were selected for analysis when they contained the keywords “constitution” and/or “EU”, although a restriction of one article per day was imposed (and 5 per day in peak periods surrounding referenda, national ratifications and EU-meetings). When in doubt, the longer, more theme-related articles were retained, especially in the case of commentaries. The basic quantitative data of the resulting corpus is as follows:
3 In addition, Kimmel (2009a) compares the results from a content analysis and a metaphor analysis, addressing the range, the focus, and the specific strengths inherent in each method. Essentially, the units of discourse that each method captures tend to differ. Content analysis targets more holistic and situated argumentative patterns with a quite topic-specific nature and a complex causal structure, whereas metaphor analysis mostly targets flexibly deployed smaller conceptual constituents.
number of words
words per article
metaphors per article
metaphors per word
Tab. 1: Quantitative metaphor data.
Note that, despite the much higher word count of the Guardian, the number of metaphors is remarkably more even between the two papers both due to longer article length and a higher article count. The Sun makes up for short articles with highly dense metaphor packages and an almost twice as high per article average. We may also note that each paper has its content- and style- related specificities. The Sun’s metaphor patterns are fewer and present British concerns only, most typically a fear of the EU. The Sun’s journalists also use more repetitive keywords and their language is more emotionalizing and rhetorically combative. The Guardian is more balanced in all of these respects and reports on a far broader range of opinions, including many voices from other countries. A detailed analysis of the differences between the two newspapers and a comparison to the metaphors from a smaller Swedish corpus was done in Mokre et al. (2006).
1.3 Coding and search for recurrent conceptual metaphors
The systematic analysis of these 2500 odd metaphors was implemented in a computer-assisted fashion, using the commercially available software Atlas.ti. This tool allows an easy annotation of texts and, later in the process, it supports retrieving, searching, filtering, and hierarchically grouping any chosen data segment. All metaphors were first identified and then tagged with independent code units for their source and target domains. This decision would later allow independent searches for, say, all death related metaphors irrespective of their target domain or of all constitution related metaphors irrespective of their source domain. For survey purposes, the Atlas.ti software was used to create a tabular overview of all target code + source code combinations by newspaper. For instance, target: EU constitution + source: building constitutes such a code combination and has 18 textual occurrences in the Guardian. All important conceptual mappings appear in the table, as
Kimmel, Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate
each co-occurrence pattern corresponds to a set of linguistic metaphors spinning off from a more or less unified conceptual metaphor. All patterns with at least five metaphors per newspaper were selected for further analysis; those below this cut-off point were deemed insufficiently systematic. The final write-up was begun only after re-checking all metaphorical expressions and after making sure that their entailments and focal meanings were equivalent within each set. Notably, the metaphor’s grounds were considered, i.e. the attributes that actually get mapped in an individual instance (Goatly 1997). I also took care to differentiate the rhetoric and cognitive functions of each variant in a set, acknowledging the sometimes opposite argumentative thrust of otherwise similar metaphors. For example, journey metaphors can be employed to demand a continuation of EU integration or to demand the very opposite. Finally, conceptual metaphor formulas were assigned to each set of expressions that had proved equivalent. I shall report the results in section 2.
1.4 Higher-level analysis
As soon as the descriptive analysis was complete, I began charting out a map of linkages between the conceptual metaphors. Atlas.ti offers considerable facilities for exploring conceptual linkages. Tabular overviews have been mentioned. Searches for co-occurrence patterns, either hypothesis-driven or by serendipity, are another asset. Atlas.ti can be used to scan for expressions with affine conceptual domains, e.g. by running a search for all targets that take on a CONTAINER image schema and comparing them. Fortunately, it was also possible to draw on more than one criterion in looking for some relevant similarity between metaphors. The asset lay in the prior tagging of metaphors, which had been independently carried out for image-schematic source domains (such as “Force” or “Path”) and rich source domains (such as “Warfare” and “Journeys”). This allowed for independent searches and for grouping analytic sets by different criteria (cf. Kimmel n.d.). With the help of these tools, I began asking in which ways different conceptual metaphors might serve similar discursive purposes or partake of a larger conceptual unit, e.g. a metaphorical narrative with several slots. Section 3 reports the results of
this theoretically informed inquiry.
2. The major metaphor patterns in a qualitative perspective
Each of the following sections (2.1-2.5) surveys the conceptual metaphors found in one of the five wider target domains, while also aiming to do justice to their internal variety. Each section will be broken down into a handful of main headers representing mappings like the EU IS A HOUSE. Under these headers or central mappings (Kövecses 2002, Musolff 2004), I discuss smaller variations that determine how commentators or quoted politicians actually reason. Broadly speaking, argumentative variations within a central mapping come about at three levels: (a) alternative instantiations of a metaphor scenario, i.e. of the same action type and same imagery, (b) similar imagery that differs slightly by virtue of diverging perspectival choices or role ascriptions, or (c) metaphors based on altogether different image schemas. To illustrate, metaphors that remain within a basic role distribution contrast opposite options like staying inside vs. leaving the house. The difference merely concerns whether the same basic action occurs or not. A slightly more pronounced difference concerns diverging role ascriptions and interaction patterns. Comparing metaphors in which the EU “engulfs” the UK and metaphors about its “entering” the EU, the UK’s role shifts from a passive nation surrounded by an expanding container to an active nation deciding to join a static container. The most pronounced difference possible within the central mapping of the EU house results when the metaphors do not share the same image-schematic basis (or, by implication, any one kind of action). For instance, metaphors that emphasize the house’s verticality or structural integrity are altogether different from the containment/path-related metaphors in all our previous examples.
2.1 The EU, its development, and its political functions
The first target domain I shall examine is the EU, with an emphasis on arguments about its general political nature and inner stability. Both, a high frequency and diversity of conceptual metaphors is found here, nine general types of mappings altogether. Many mappings appear in both newspapers, although the Guardian tends to be more varied and several patterns remain absent in the Sun. The argumentative thrust of each kind of metaphor will be now discussed, always stating the number of metaphor tokens in parentheses
for each mapping (i.e. N=).
Kimmel, Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate
2.1.1 The EU as edifice
THE EU IS AN EDIFICE is a powerful central mapping that engenders different scenarios and variants. A first set of metaphors highlights the EU’s political soundness (or not), its institutional permanence (or not), and its underlying vision or plan. The generally very EU-skeptic Sun (N=16) emphasizes that the EU is not well put-together, welcoming the “trumpets of doom [that] are sounding across the European Union” and speaking of “the first wholesale rebuilding of the EU for 50 years” as well as ”the crumbling walls of jerry-built Europe”. Accordingly, the anti-EU front should “wreck the EU” or “scupper the blueprint in a [UK] referendum”. In all of these metaphors, the EU’s structural integrity is destroyed through force. The Guardian (N= 29) employs the same scenario with a more varied emphasis. It sees the EU as an “edifice” that needs to be “constructed”/“built”, an “institutional pillar of the post-war world”, although it is also characterized as “rickety”, prone to “collapse”, or being “wrecked”. It has “architecture” and “architects”, it “has to go back to the drawing board” to revise its “blueprint” or rearrange its “institutional furniture”. Second, a wholly different line of reasoning concerns the EU enlargement. In this scenario, the EU can “open its doors” or become a “fortress”, be “fortified”, “buttressed”, build up a “wall”, or “pull up its drawbridge”.
2.1.2 The EU as machinery
THE EU IS A MACHINE is deployed mainly with the intent of focusing on the EU’s internal preconditions of functioning. In the Guardian (N=24), metaphors depict the EU as an “engine”, “machinery” or “motor of integration” that is “working” or not. Important states are characterized as the “engine room”. The constitution’s purpose is to ensure its “smooth running”, to “prevent(s) the motor’s stalling”, to “oil its machinery”, “keep it going for decades” and to prevent “gridlock”. The voters’ rejection of the constitution “put[s] a spanner in the EU works”, “dismantle[s]” it or “send[s] it back to the drawing board”. Two metaphors in the Sun (N=2) emphasize the EU’s complex internal structure and complementary mechanic parts in stating that the EU “works
like a ratchet” and describing a country as a “cog in the massive EU wheel”.
2.1.3 The EU as container
In the Guardian, THE EU IS A CONTAINER includes two quite different sets of metaphors (N=12). First, images of being swallowed up or being subject to bondage underlie fears in the anti-EU camp, who speaks of “engulfment by a superstate” and “the tentacles of Brussels”. Here, the implied counterpart to the EU is a nation state that is weak and faces an ever expanding, greedy, and imperialistic behemoth. Alternatively and with quite different entailments, the inside-outside distinction of containment is used to speak of membership to the EU, such as the fear of being “left on the outside” or the suggestion to “expel those that have been working for the destruction of the EU (mainly Britain)”.4 In the Sun, (N=9) both engulfment fears (“suck us into a European superstate”; “swallowed up”) and membership play a role (politicians are reminded of “a pledge to pull out of Europe” or to “leave us out”). A more implicit evocation of engulfment is the catchword “superstate” (Guardian N=37, Sun N=45), implying a possible dissolution of the UK in a larger whole. This appears across outright anti-EU views, explanations of where fears originate, criticisms of scaremongering, and EU-internal voices that warn against such a development.
2.1.4 The EU in force dynamic interaction
Metaphors of force dynamic interaction (Guardian, N=22) either couch the EU in the action slot of an agent or patient. The first pattern sees the EU subject to external forces, e.g. a “war-torn” continent or an entity that a “defeat would shake” – although “nobody will want to rock the boat” too early or cause it to “be broken down”. Inversely, accepting the constitution would “fortify the EU”, which guards against any of these destructive forces. From a second viewpoint, forces may issue from the EU itself. Here it is construed as an active force agent, i.e. as “a counterweight to America”, getting “a bigger punch on the world stage”, flexing “its political muscle”, or having “the upper
4 Yet another variant refracts the conceptual metaphor IDEAS ARE ENTITIES / PROJECTS ARE CONTAINERS FOR IDEAS: “Europe is not a value, it is a project, a container, and unlike the neo- liberals, the Yes-men, the compromise merchants, I am interested in its contents.” [Guardian
Kimmel, Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate
hand”. Note that forces are couched in various rich domains, i.e. general physics, warfare, seafaring, boxing, and fighting. The EU is also subject to inner forces in “the forces pulling Europe together are stronger than those pulling it apart”, which already brings us to the next category.
2.1.5 The EU as an area with a center and a periphery
Center-periphery metaphors for the EU partly overlap with the container ontology and evince a key pattern based on IMPORTANT EU MEMBERS ARE CENTRAL. In the Sun (N=13), the main expression found is “heart of Europe”. In the Guardian, (N=34) we find an opposition between a “Core Europe” (equivalent to “its heart”) and “and outer ring” or “its margins”, which suggests that some countries are more important than others. A recurring argument runs that the EU’s founding members are attempting to create an “EU inner core” led by France, in order to protect the social model, while leaving Britain with its liberal model “on the fringes”. Specifically, it is debated whether Britain should remain at the margin or be taken “to the heart of Europe”, as advocated by Blair.
2.1.6 The EU as body
THE EU IS A BODY (Guardian N=27, Sun N=13) lends itself to a broad range of different entailments. First, metaphors of body-mass emphasize aspects of institutional complexity. The Guardian urges the EU to “slim down”, become “lean” or, conversely, be “fleshed out”. Second, health metaphors are used to talk about the crisis, seeing a body that is “faltering” or that suffers “wounds” and “fractures”, “gets the jitters” or is brought “to its knees” (the latter two in the Sun), but also seeing a possibility of “healing” and “detoxing nationalism”. Third, in both papers body-topology appears in the idiom “at the heart of Europe”.5 Fourth, agency is highlighted with an EU that “flexes its political muscles”6 (Guardian), or the Sun’s urging that “Brussels must stretch every
5 This a metaphor-from-metonymy in which one first has to grasp that hearts are central to bodies before going on to infer the conceptual metaphor IMPORTANT IS CENTRAL.
6 The expression “institutional skeleton of the union” fits more with structural integrity.
sinew”, “must be fit and strong to compete”, release itself “from the economic straitjacket” or turn into “an actor on the world stage”. One commentator ironically speaks of the need to “drag the EU kicking and screaming into the
2.1.7 The EU as a person
Personification in a more general sense is used to talk about collective political processes. Mainly in the Guardian (N=11), this takes the shape of attributing to the EU a “destiny”, a “collective will” and emotions like “fury”, and reactions like “to follow”, to “believe in itself”, and to “learn a new language”. Criticism of the EU is expressed by speaking of a person who has “lost touch” or is “inward looking”, “navel-gazing” or “not blind to its own faults”. One interesting metaphor splits Europe in two entities by saying the “Political and economic Europe do not live in separate rooms”.
2.1.8 The EU as animate being / creature
The source domains “Animate Being”, “Animal”, and “Monster”, found mainly in the Guardian, share much in common with personification (N=4, 7,
7). Animal related and several other animate idioms do not really reflect a single scenario, e.g. “Brussels’ tentacles”, “a new animal in the Brussels jungle”, “Europe is no holy cow”, or “dinosaur policies”. A more systematic line of argument concerns the EU being “a living creature” that the French “created in their own image”, a “triumphant creation”. It is argued that anti- French forces in Brussels “have turned on their own European creation to solve their problems”. A negative variant of this highlights uncontrollability. The EU is criticized as a “gargantuan bureaucratic European leviathan”, a “juggernaut”, an “uncontrollable robot”, or “a monster you cannot counter”.
Finally, birth-related (N=3) and plant-related metaphors (N=13) mostly highlight change over time. The latter occurs in an EU that “has grown into 25 nations” and “grown up since the treaty of Rome” (SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS ARE PLANTS, cf. Kövecses 2002). It is further asked “whether the EU will be allowed to wither away in the face of mounting global pressure” or the EU depicted as “complex, political, economic and legal hybrid” to emphasize its complexity. Finally, a creative analogy explicates what it takes to develop the EU:
Kimmel, Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate
“She says that the EU must be like an English garden - an area of growth, requiring constant planting and replanting, weeding, fertilising and full of variety and change. But, she adds, there must be an organising hand somewhere” (Guardian 350).
2.1.9 The EU as social group
In the Guardian, source expressions from the domain “Social Groups” (N=21) are exclusively used to talk about the relations between member states. The dominant scenario is that of a “club” becoming an “expanded club” or vis-à- vis Turkey a “Christian club”. This club has “rules”, “members”, “second-class membership”, and the option to “expel” members. The main meaning focus seems to be that of exclusiveness, rules and shared aims, and perhaps that of old members keeping others out. A smaller set of metaphors personifies the EU as a group which is “dominated” by some states, having a “leader”, “a binding community” or a common household (“and we Europeans would still be faffing around like a household of old maids, eternally squabbling about the arrangement of the furniture in their front parlour”).
2.2 EU integration
Next, we will examine metaphorically expressed views of EU integration in general and after the No vote in particular. This major sub-topic of EU discourse commonly yields “Journey” and “Path” related metaphors, albeit such that are realized in an enormous variety of ways.
2.2.1 EU integration as journey
The dominant mapping found here is EU INTEGRATION IS A JOURNEY. A large number of different evaluations about the process of EU integration, its aims, and its status especially after the French and Dutch No votes are couched in this metaphor. No matter what a speaker’s convictions, journeys are useful. In the Sun (N=31), the pro-EU camp speaks of “a brave new course for Europe”, “Europe moving forward", a "perfectly sensible way forward", or declares that the constitution “does not go far enough” (Jean Luc Dehaene) and “shouldn’t stop there” (Rocco Buttiglione). The critics say that “the EU has gone so far down the dangerous route” or warn about “travel[ing] one inch further down
the slippery slope of European integration”. They criticize that “Brussels is
carrying on regardless” or scold “the clowns who have driven "The Project" to the brink of disaster”. Tony Blair is reported to call “for a huge change in direction”, while foreign minister Jack Straw limits Britain’s involvement by saying “This far and no further”. A commentator mentions that Blair “has a unique opportunity to drive the EU in the direction that is best for Britain”.
A look at the Guardian (N=89) demonstrates more systematically that path attributes are used to reason with: the fact of traveling, direction, speed, and driving forces. The EU is thought to be “stopping”, “going on”, moving at a certain “pace”, or being “propelled forward too quickly and ambitiously”. It must “be kept going” or “need not proceed forever”. While for its supporters the EU is “in permanent onward flux” and “moving on”, its critics aim at “rendering it immobile”, and some skeptics expect that it will “encounter large road blocks”. As to its pace, integration happens in “leaps and bounds” or “two steps backwards followed by almighty leaps forward”. The EU can be static or dynamic, e.g. it can be “overtaken by the world economy” and it can be being forced along in “Gordon Brown […] is brimming with ideas and determined to drag the EU kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.” Or, Europe can move at two speeds concerning “rumours that Paris and Berlin planned to form a political union leading to a two-track Europe within the EU, leaving behind recalcitrant states such as Britain.”7
As to direction, the EU is “heading a wrong direction”, the direction may be “unclear”, “can be cooperative”, or “should be changed”. Of course, “the end point” may differ depending on whom one asks. The EU may be on “the road to ruin” if it lacks vision.
The required force for traveling is equally elaborated on. The founding fathers and important nations are its “driving forces”. Politicians try to “take it” or “lead it” on a journey for which a “pace is set”, “milestones” exist, and “fellow travellers” are sought. Not surprisingly, fanciful elaborations on what makes Europe move are found:
“Europe, he told us, was like a bicycle: you keep pedalling or you fall off. Well, we have been pedalling as if seeking the Tour de
7 In one instance, “decades of EU activity have simply passed people by”.
Kimmel, Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate
France yellow jersey. British sceptics and many others would prefer to make the journey on foot, at an amble” (Guardian 53).
2.2.2 EU integration after the No votes
Right before the referenda, many voices express that a No means “bringing the EU project to a halt” and causes a “huge institutional setback”, “a dire reverse in the long march”. An argument by the British government is that a No means making “a step into the unknown”, “a foolhardy leap in the dark”. After the No votes, accordingly, the EU is seen in “new territory” and at a “crossroads”. At best, it “stumbles along” or is seen on “a rollercoaster ride” and is left with its “momentum […] broken”. Most, however, speak of “road blocks” which let the integration “shudder […] to a halt” or “stall” in “the present impasse” where the EU “can neither go forward nor stay the same”. Only some recommend that “that we go ahead with this” and do “their best to keep the show on the road”. Consequently, the “way ahead is far from clear” and requires “difficult decisions”. A pause for reflection is thus frequently suggested: “When you're facing a precipice, you don't step forward. Pro- Europeans across the continent need to step back and take time to consider their options”, also expressed as “stepping back to move forward”. In the Sun, some see the “drive towards a United States of Europe dead in its tracks”, others say that the process “can still go ahead”. In any case, “questions about the future direction of Europe” are raised.
Using vehicle imagery (Guardian N=29) to give the metaphors added impact, the EU is depicted as “a ship without a clearly defined course” or a “train stopped in its tracks”. In the post referendum crisis, some ask from every member state “to put a shoulder to the wheel” to plow on. Others think that “Britain can seize the steering wheel” or the “helm of the EU”. The Sun (N=8) urges that Tony Blair “takes the helm” and credits him with “set[ting] a brave new course” or sees “the unique opportunity to drive the EU in the direction that’s best for Britain” as Britain assumes the EU presidency. Otherwise, the Sun only weakly elaborates the idea of continuing with the EU integration and typically warns of surreptitious continuation (e.g. “go ahead with parts of the constitution by the back door”, by “weasel[ing] in”, “stealth”, or “a plot”). Related blockage images can be seen in the call to define “red lines” against
2.2.3 Further aspects related to EU integration: enlargement, institutions, and referenda
Journeys also appear in further, smaller target domains that tie in with the EU’s development. In the Guardian (N=7), European enlargement has a “pace”, may be a “long and winding road” or pose no “hurdles”, and is a process that “had not been not derailed” or, alternatively, was “stopped in its tracks”. Specifically, the No “blocks the path of new nations queuing to join”. Journeys also relate to the EU institutional processes (N=5), e.g. in “the endless, grinding pace of institutional change”, in “European institutions inveigling their way into every nook and cranny of life”, and in “the rotating presidency will plough on”. Finally, the national constitutional referenda themselves are couched as journeys. In the Sun (N=4), various British politicians promise to “plough ahead”, “steam ahead”, or “proceed” with their own referendum whichever way the Spanish, French, and Dutch vote. By contrast, the Guardian (N=6) warns against a UK referendum because of its uncertain outcome. It is seen as leading to “a crossroads”, “a risky path”, “a hurdle”, “a course fraught with uncertainty” or even a “referendum rodeo”.8
2.3 The constitution and its fate after the referenda
The target domain “EU constitutional treaty” (or “constitution”, for short) stands at the very center of the debate. It variously takes on the sources “Journey/Path”, “Force”, “Life”, and “Object integrity”, besides being reflected in several fixed idioms. The metaphors and idioms appear in arguments mainly about the constitution’s function, opinions about how well thought out it is, how far its implementation has “advanced”, and if it can “survive” the French and Dutch Noes.
2.3.1 The constitutional process as a journey or path
This and the next two subsections are best explained through Talmy’s (2000)
force dynamic model, i.e. an agonist-antagonist interaction in which the
8 The single hit “Russian Roulette” shows that the same opinion can be expressed through an alternative source domain.
Kimmel, Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate
stronger entity displaces the weaker entity or impedes its movement. In terms of metaphors, we are looking for images of pushing, enabling, vying, blocking, or forcing ahead. In one sense, the constitution plays the role of the major “enabler” for EU integration (i.e. THE CONSTITUTION IS A MOVING ENTITY, which in turn converges with THE NO IS A BLOCKAGE). In the Guardian, path (N=35) and vehicle metaphors (N=31) project a moving constitution striding forward in tandem with EU integration. The constitution can be “carried forward”, “launched into space”, “kept going”, “get a modest boost”, or even receive “unstoppable momentum” through a Yes vote. Conversely, some sports metaphors in the Guardian (N=6) elaborate the difficulty of implementing the treaty (“exercise”, “marathon”, “hurdles”). The Sun (N=20) bemoans how various agents “go ahead/ plough ahead with” the constitutional process or seem “far from pulling back”. Some call for a blockage, a “this far and no further” or for “red lines”. They advocate stopping “the ramshackle constitution in its tracks” or saying that is has been “Sunk” (a pun hinting at the newspaper’s causal role). The damaged-constitution scenario can be connected with the blockage scenario in using maritime vehicles the voters can “torpedo” or “sink”. (The two are coherent because a damaged vehicle is prevented from advancing on its path). A related blockage is couched in a building scenario connected with fears that the referendum could be ignored by the elites; it warns of “bringing in the treaty by the back door”. Critics also take issue with the constitution’s being “foisted upon us”, “forced through” (for example through “arm twisting”), so it should be “opposed”.
In the Guardian, forces occur in two path-related keyword of what the constitution does to render the EU institutions more effective or counter its malfunctioning. One is the aim to avoid gridlock in the EU’s inner workings (N=14). This typically collocates with streamline (N=14), i.e. making the moving EU slicker and more motile by passing the constitution. Both idioms are based on blockage removal, although the former involves an image of a circular motion of a cogwheel, while the latter suggests speeding up on a planar path.
2.3.2 The constitution as active causal force
The constitution’s motion on its path ahead is not the whole story. An interesting alternative perspective results from looking at how the constitution
causally influences and shapes other entities. We have seen above how the treaty can be exposed to blocking or enabling forces, but not how the constitution exerts force and thereby carries forward or holds back a process. In the Guardian (N=21), in the view of its supporters, it appears as “a powerful force for change and renewal” that “keeps the enlarged EU going for decades” and that can “create momentum”. Rejecting it will “bring the EU to a grinding halt” or “set the European project back by 15 years”. In the view of its opponents, the British Conservatives, it can also weigh down other agents, being “a ‘ball and chain’ on British business”. The emphasis can also turn to the path itself here: Summits and the constitutional treaty are seen as “steps on the road to a superstate”. Furthermore, the constitution determines the EU’s direction by “turn[ing] Europe away from the path of solidarity and into that of neo-liberalism”.
With a different twist, the constitution occurs as a force-exerting agent who damages entities. Its entering into force can “kill French jobs”, “ride […] roughshod over French social principles” or “deliver […] a hard knock to federalism” by enshrining a vision of a free-market Europe. Interestingly, the Sun includes only a single case in which the constitution is an active agent that “will usher in a British-style free market economy”. Other than this, it is depicted as causally impotent and functionless. The above opportunities for a negative emphasis are also missed, and the constitution remains passive, with a given “fate” or in saying that “cannot be rescued”.
2.3.3 The constitution as object (violently) acted on
Further along, we find forces that act on the constitution, especially after the No. The basis of this is the ontological metaphor THE CONSTITUTION IS A (DYSFUNCTIONAL) OBJECT that gives the abstract entity the status of a manipulable object (Lakoff & Johnson 1980). This serves the conceptual function to envisage either the treaty’s wholesale destruction or its being removed. The Guardian (N=18) visualizes a scenario in which the voters “wreck”, “tear up”, “consign to the shredder”, “deliver the final hammer blow to”, and “scrap the existing treaties as well as the constitution”, which is left “damaged” and has “remnants”. This, in turn, relates to “sink” or “torpedo” above. The object removal scenario includes “ditch the constitution”, “dump
the document”, “kick the constitution into the long grass”, “chuck the EU
Kimmel, Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate
constitution in the dustbin”, and put it “on the shelf”. If we compare the two latter expressions, shelving maintains the unique identity of the object for later use, whereas scrapping insinuates a dysfunctional state of something that is a priori junk-worthy. The Sun too (N=24) presents both the damage scenario (“has taken ferocious hammering”, “shattered by a French ‘NON’”, “slammed the EU blueprint”, “wreck the planned European Constitution”) and the removal scenario (“ditch”, “scupper”, “bury the plan”). Overall, object removal more cautiously signals a pause for reflection, whereas object destruction suggests a complete dismissal of the constitution. Interestingly, all the metaphors spill over to the fate of the (much debated) UK referendum which gets “dumped”, ”scrapped”, “chucked in the dustbin”, “scuppered” or “shelved” after the Noes in France and the Netherlands (Sun N=11, Guardian N=4). In the Sun, they even spill over to the EU as a whole, e.g. in “snubbing the treaty will wreck the EU” or in “ditch the old-style social model” (N=6). Overall, the Sun uses language implying a piece of junk more profusely, with more lexical variety, and applied to almost any kind of EU related target. Its many destruction related expressions denote a generally dismissive attitude.
2.3.4 The constitution’s life, ailing and death
The most frequent source domain for the constitution is life and death. It engenders scenarios with various stages and outcomes, most notably THE NO VOTE IS THE CONSTITUTION’S DEATH. In the run up to the referenda, the Guardian’s (N=38) commentators characterize a possible rejection of the constitution as “signing the death warrant”, “killing” it, or “burying the plan for an EU superstate”, although more hopeful views exist too, saying that officials may decide not to “kill it completely”. After the referenda, it is especially the anti-EU camp (inter alia, the Sun and Daily Mail in the Guardian’s press review) who speak of a treaty that “is (stone) dead” “dead in the water”, “a doomed treaty” that “cannot survive” or has received a “kiss of death”. On the other hand, EU officials like Junckers and Barroso claim that despite the No the constitution “is not dead”. They see a possibility to “breathe life into this corpse” (through a European referendum) and to “find a way of keeping it alive”. Commentators discuss the chances of “keeping it alive” or “rescuing” it from its “fate”. Some respond skeptically by saying that
“no magical formulae to revive the document” exist, or view the debate “akin
to giving an injection to a dead patient”. More optimistic voices suggest “putting it on ice until better days dawned”, like a cryogenically frozen patient. Optimists commonly mitigate the death metaphor into a patient whose health is being diagnosed, or they reject the death scenario explicitly, e.g. “don’t bury the constitution just yet” and “there is still life in the document”. The Sun (N=37) uses ailing, death, and reviving equally profusely and with a welcoming attitude towards the treaty’s demise, which they call wretched and hated. Not surprisingly, a certainty that the constitution is “dead” and “a case for the morgue” dominates over voices that say “not dead” (reported views of Junckers and Barroso) and visions of its being “resuscitated” or even “resurrected”. It also emphasizes that “if by any means they try to breathe life into this corpse, then we need to have the British people having a say”.
One remarkable facet of metaphorical reasoning warrants attention here. Death is rendered final only by European politicians “pronouncing” the constitution dead, “deliver[ing] last rites”, nailing the “coffin […] lid” down,9 and “burying” it. It is criticized that the reluctance to call things by their name comes from the fact that “no one wants to be blamed for delivering the final blow” and that “no one wants to be the first hand on the dagger”10. This twists the familiar logic of death, the source domain, somewhat. The paradoxical logic that only politicians decide about final death has clear argumentative purposes. It is used to call on them to officially pronounce it dead:
“this constitution is a case for the morgue. [….] Have some courage, man, and declare this constitution dead” (Sun 29).
Moreover, this shrewd rhetoric gambit suggests a final decision, but still leaves the opposite outcome open. This fits with a situation where the metaphors express more the anti-constitution camp’s hopes than an actual decision by EU officials. Another observation is that graphic elaborations and
9 “Today the European Constitution is cooling in its coffin. But while Brussels bureaucrats are drawing breath the lid can never be quite nailed down.” [Guardian 183].
10 This metaphor continues with an explicit analogy: “Like Brutus stabbing Caesar, they need 25 hands on the dagger” [Guardian 105].
Kimmel, Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate
extensions like pulse checking or morgues serve to convey glee and make the argument stick.
Another striking fact is that the slots in the death scenario are frequently filled in creative ways, i.e. elaborated (Lakoff & Turner 1989:67ff). In the Sun, the suggestion of a gruesome vampire being finished off at long last conveys a supremely negative evaluation of the constitution and insinuates a parasite sucking the life blood of the British (“Tony Blair last night drove a stake through the heart of the EU Constitution”). The dead body is also humorously elaborated as “dead duck” and “a dead parrot”, referring to a famous Monty Python sketch in which a dead pet is absurdly treated as alive. By contrast, expressions such as “driving the final nail into its coffin” and “hopes the treaty can be resuscitated” extend the more conventional conceptual metaphor ENDING IS DEATH, which usually does not include the slots of burial or resuscitation. In the Guardian, metaphor extensions occur in the politicians’ “bedside vigil” and “post mortems”, and the question who is “to take the blame for killing the treaty” or for “assassinating” it. Another metaphor extension has the No inserted in the scenario as death’s cause. The No (in France) “may kill” or “has killed” the treaty, renders it “dead”, sends it “in coma” or it makes a “casualty” of the European vision. The specific aspect of violent death, realized as “final blow” and the No that “axes” the constitution, is also found (Guardian N=15, Sun N=9).
2.3.5 The constitution as building / entity with structural soundness
The central mapping THE CONSTITUTION IS AN EDIFICE engenders three different variants. First, we find an architectural design scenario. The Guardian (N=18) views the constitutions as a “blueprint” for a new union, “Giscard d’Estaing as the principal architect”, and its being “forced back to the drawing board” after the No. In particular, the catchword “blueprint” is used to discuss what the constitution stands for:
“Many of France's more traditionally-minded Socialists see the constitution as Thatcherite blueprint for a union that ignores France's emphasis on worker protection, public services and welfare guarantees” (Guardian 240).
“Seen by Eurosceptics as a "blueprint for tyranny," the cooler view is that the constitutional treaty makes clear exactly who does what in the complex political, economic and legal hybrid that is today's EU” (Guardian 451).
In the Sun (N=29), the term “blueprint” actually accounts for the lion’s share of the found tokens. A quite different scenario, found in both papers, focuses on the constitution's lack of structural integrity. This is expressed by calling it a “ramshackle treaty“ that “must collapse under the weight of its own contradictions“, diagnosing “verbal castles in the air”, or saying that “reopening the whole package would almost certainly lead to total collapse” and “bring the whole enterprise crashing down”. Note that a small set of entity or substance related metaphors share a thematic focus on the constitution’s lack of structural integrity or worthlessness:
“The Constitution is a disgraceful ragbag of legal contradiction, cobbled together in secret and designed to confuse” (Sun 67).
“He said that in the French President's hands the EU constitution had been turned into ‘dross’” (Sun 9).
In a third, infrequent edifice scenario speakers warn of the dangers of relinquishing national competencies by drawing on door metaphors (“a door into a room which the UK will never be able to leave” or “a gateway to a country called Europe”).
2.3.6 Special fixed idioms
The constitution’s merits are also discussed in several fixed idioms that serve to entrench arguments by repetition and drive points home. By and large, the keywords underwrite the Sun’s abiding opposition to the constitution, whereas the Guardian has a more balanced emphasis. The term surrender couches the relinquishing of power or of sovereignty to the EU in warlike terms (Sun N=28, Guardian N=6); sign away/ hand over captures the same argument (Sun N=27, Guardian N=2). The term streamline (Guardian N=19) positively evaluates the constitution as facilitating the institutional management of the EU and enshrine (Guardian N=32) suggest an immutable state of sacrosanctity, which is taken issue with in “enshrines a ruthless neo- liberal agenda”, “free-market values”, or an “Anglo-Saxon model of unfettered capitalism”. With the inverse evaluation, a second group of commentators welcomes that the treaty enshrines an “European” or “French social model”,
Kimmel, Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate
the “commitment to solidarity and environmental sustainability”, an outmoded “social economic model”, or a “labour-friendly economic model”, “human rights”, “workers’ right” and “the right to strike”, “Europe’s Christian roots”, “French influence”, “a common agricultural policy”, and “women and minority rights”. The term blueprint for tyranny, originating in the anti-EU Murdoch press, suggests that British sovereignty is at risk. The Guardian cites other papers using the term “blueprint” (N=19) and although the term “tyranny” itself is rare, “diktats”, “dictator” and “totalitarian regimes” point in the same direction (N=6). These metaphors contrast with a more benevolent view that sees the constitution as a mere tidying up exercise (N=7). It emphasizes that the complicated existing EU treaties are molded into a coherent single legal framework and thereby opposes critics seeing British sovereignty endangered.
2.4 The impact of the referendal Noes
A complementary and smaller target domain concerns the referendal No in France and the Netherlands. Metaphors for the No highlight its alarming nature or further specify the earlier mentioned aspects of Europe’s reaction. The target takes on various source domains, notably “Object damage”, “Fisticuffs”, “Warfare”, “Revolutionary force”, and “Natural forces”. In effect, all of the resulting conceptual metaphors suggest the same force-dynamic interaction pattern between the voters, a force agent, and the constitution or elite, the force recipient. In other words, they revolve around a single basic image schema and add special facets to it.
2.4.1 The No as violent force / knock-out
THE NO IS A VIOLENT FORCE is a generic pattern fleshed out in different variants, but held together by three shared implications: a violent reaction of the voters, the impossibility to ignore it, and its destructive consequences. First, THE NO IS A BLOW highlights either the referendum’s finality, its seriously damaging effects, or both. In the Guardian (N=32) we find “a final hammer blow delivered to the EU constitution”, “a knockout blow”, “terminal”, “grievous” or “probably fatal blow”, “a resounding slap in the face”, that “leaves almost the entire political class of the EU bruised, shaken”, and makes “the EU reel[s] from a double whammy”. The Sun (N=21) speaks of a
“referendum drubbing”, “a serious blow”, and “a crushing NON”. The fistfight scenario lends itself to personalization, with a Gerhard Schroeder who “was given a bloody nose”, as well as with talk of a “black eye” and of a “last man standing” among the important European figures (i.e. Tony Blair).
Second, THE NO IS WARFARE amplifies the idea that the No has negative effects on other entities too. In the Sun (N=14), the No “kills” or “axe[s]” a British referendum or the constitution or “torpedoes” it (the implication being unexpectedness). A British referendum is also seen as meaning “annihilation” for Tony Blair, if held. To the Guardian (N=29), the No is “‘a warning shot’ in opposition to Turkey's membership” and enlargement is one of the “casualties of the French and Dutch referendums”. More than this, the entire future of the EU has “suffered grievous collateral damage”.
Third, THE NO IS A NATURAL FORCE serves to visualize the felt quality of the shock, its suddenness and vehemence. The Guardian (N=7) speaks of a “raspberry the voters delivered with the force of a tornado”, “a tSunami”, “the backlash of the No is sending shockwaves through every country”, and is still “reverberating”. The No can also be “a jolt across Europe”, a force that “shakes the political establishment”, or an “electric shock”. In the Sun (N=6), “the earth has moved”, “the defeat sends shockwaves through European capitals”, “reverberations were felt in Germany”, “rumblings of a political earthquake”, “a landslide defeat”. (A metaphorical background assumption is that POLITICS IS A LANDSCAPE with established and stable structures.) 11
Fourth, THE NO IS A REVOLUTION pattern hints at political motives in addition to the counterforce itself. The Guardian (N=9) explains the No as a “voters’ mutiny”, a “popular uprising”, “a revolt against the rules in The Hague and Brussels”, “the beginning of a second French revolution”, or “just another of those spring revolutions that France, to stay sane, must of necessity undergo every 50 or 100 years or so”, while the Sun (N=11) speaks of “anti-EU rebels”, a “Europe wide revolt”, and, in a pun, a “mEUtiny”. The implication here is more a rejection of the elites than of the constitution itself.
11 With a more positive twist, there is the occasional emphasis on a force that “shakes up the debate” and makes it progress.
Kimmel, Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate
2.4.2 Further inferentially compatible patterns
Beyond all this, in the Sun several metaphors of object destruction indirectly suggest that force was applied, alternatively as THE NO IS A DISASTER or as THE NO IS A COLLAPSE. First, metaphors of chaos point to great force having been applied, a “shambles” or “mess” to be cleared up, a “disaster” (N=8),12 throwing “the European project into chaos”. Second, (N=7) terms like “plunge”, “collapse”, and “fall” specify the force’s direction. They implicate the conventional conceptual metaphors BAD IS DOWN and DYSFUNCTIONAL IS DOWN. Third, THE NO IS A LOUD NOISE emphasizes a perceptually highly salient and sudden event that suggests immediate action in “a wake-up call” or “alarm bells” or in “the people are blowing the trumpets round the city walls. Are we listening?” (N=3 in Sun and N=2 in the Guardian). Noise fits with an act of force, because vehemence typically results in loudness.
2.5 The debate and the pre-referendum campaigning
Finally, a medium-sized last target domain concerns metaphors that comment the style of the debate and the pro- or anti-constitution campaigns. These metaphors mostly involve force dynamics (vying forces, counterforce) and forces on paths (movement ahead, path reversal). The source domains business, sports and conspiracy add extra inferences to this prevalent pattern, as we will see.
2.5.1 Debating and campaigning is war
The central mapping THE CAMPAIGN/DEBATE IS WARFARE occurs in both newspapers, basically a spin-off from the more general metaphor POLITICS IS WAR, a pattern fully exploited elsewhere in my data that I lack the space to discuss here. In the Guardian (N=31), war metaphors include to “lay down the battle lines”, “winning” or “losing”, “gaining ground”, “going on the offensive”, “sniping and swiping”, “concentrating the fire on”, “an uphill struggle”, “staying aloof from the fray”, and “Blair’s strategy of keeping his
12 The heat metaphors “perilous meltdown” and “Holocaust” suggest the same end effect by different means.
head down”. The debate is a “war of words”, a “battle”, and the pre- referendum campaign an “expected fight”, a “crusade” in which arguments may be weapons (e.g. in “the febrile topic of asylum is emerging as one of the
'Vote No' campaign's early weapons”). One comment on the negative style of the debate is framed in a war-like way: “sections of the press have therefore ventured furthest in their mutilation of the previously defined rules of public debate”. In two other text passages, the politicians react to the No with “a battle between ‘old’ and ‘new’ Europe for the future of the continent”, and are depicted as “locked in a massive blame-game”. In the Sun, (N=10) the expressions “battle”, “to battle for”, “crusade”, “war chest”, and the injunction to Blair to “surrender or fight on” occur in connection with the campaign for a No.
2.5.2 Campaigning is a force (and so are the opponent’s opinion and public opinion)
The interaction of political interests appears as CAMPAIGNING IS USING FORCE, with the same emphasis on violence and vehemence as above, but simply in less war specific expressions. In the Guardian (N=13), first, we find forces on a path, e.g. “give it a major boost”, “hesitate to throw all his papers behind the no campaign”, and “build up such a head of steam” (CAMPAIGNING IS PRODUCING MOMENTUM). This is also couched in terms of sports in “uphill task”, “kickoff of a campaign”.13 The second pattern concerns aggression against an opponent, including “in a swipe at Britain”, “ferocity of the campaign”, “wrestle with”, and “had the field to itself”” (CAMPAIGNING IS VYING WITH THE OPPONENT). Related expressions envisage campaigning as counterforce, e.g. “reverse the rising tide of opinion against Europe’s constitution” or “reverse the swing against the constitution”. This implies the general idea that PUBLIC OPINION IS A FORCE that can be made to move either in one or the other direction. Note the pattern extension here. While the political debate is a bipartisan force antagonism between two entities, campaigning is
13 By contrast, the sports expression “game plan” seems to be less force-dynamic in nature. It relates to strategy, similar to some war metaphors, and at best evokes the image of a highly complex array of paths the players follow.
Kimmel, Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate
the attempt of both sides to swing a third entity, public opinion, in their direction. In the Sun (N=4), forces occur once on a path in “propaganda drive”, but mostly as an aggressive conflict in “furious bust up”, “tore up the diplomatic rulebook”, and “locked in a battle which threatened to wreck”.
2.5.3 Campaigning is moving on a path
Another path-based scenario occurs in “the two sides are neck and neck” and “the yes camp is still ahead” (THE CAMPAIGN IS A RACE). The difference to metaphors of campaign momentum is that the implication here is not to displace or subdue the opponent, but to cross the finishing line first. A race is not a typical case of force dynamics in that sense, although it shares the basic idea that momentum is needed to succeed. Other paths occur in unsystematic patterns in the Guardian. There is talk of “shifts in the parameters of the debate”, of opposite poles being “little more than different routes to the same destination” (journey scenario), and of “launch a campaign” (war scenario).
2.5.4 Campaigning is business
I now move on to force un-related conceptual metaphors. In the Sun, negative undertones are metaphorically depicted as THE PRO-EU CAMPAIGN IS SELLING (DUBIOUS) GOODS TO THE CITIZEN in “selling policies” (N=9), or even more negatively as “peddling lies and myths” (Guardian N=11). They elaborate that Blair, a pro-European, “will never persuade people to buy the package” and that “the goods are very suspect and the salesman is not to be trusted”. This draws on the highly conventional conceptual metaphors IDEAS ARE OBJECTS and the idiomatic pattern TO UNCRITICALLY BELIEVE AN IDEA IS TO BUY GOODS.
2.5.5 Campaigning is a conspiracy
Finally, yet another way to attack the pro-constitution camp is the accusation that THE CAMPAIGN IS A CONSPIRACY (Sun N=7). The pattern occurs in “the French president hatched a plot to force Britain to hold a referendum”, in “he will be damned by the EU for sabotaging a treaty”, in the accusation that the politicians are planning to “rig” or “stitch up” the referendum, and in an alleged “ploy” to make the constitution seem inevitable.
3. Integrative analysis of discourse coherence
Having now surveyed all metaphor types of at least five hits per newspaper and having inferred the underlying conceptual metaphors, the next step is to inquire into higher-level patterns that may further connect these. Before going into this advanced analysis, I will once more round up all conceptual metaphor patterns, their main focus (i.e. mapped attributes), and their argumentative thrust, enabling the reader to get an overview of common trends. I have grouped them by their relatedness and attempted to hierarchically position them.
3.1 Bird’s eye view of the metaphor field
A. For the target domain EU, i.e. institutions and membership, we find several basic patterns that explicate its nature. First let us examine metaphors for the political institutions as such:
• THE EU IS AN EDIFICE Æ highlights functionality (or lack thereof), acts of destroying, the vision involved in designing and effort in building, as well as enlarging its size or shutting out others.
• THE EU IS A MACHINE Æ highlights functionality and its prerequisites, complex inner relations and design of the institutions, and the fact that some nations are more important for their functioning.
• THE EU IS A BODY has four quite different variants with different entailments:
o INSTITUTIONAL FUNCTIONALITY IS BODY HEALTH Æ emphasizes the soundness of and changes to the EU institutions.
o INSTITUTIONAL COMPLEXITY IS BODY MASS Æ emphasizes the hypertrophy of the institutions.
o MAIN POLITICAL AGENTS ARE BODY CENTERS Æ emphasizes difference in status and importance.
o POLITICAL POWER IS MUSCLE STRENGTH Æ emphasizes the need for political strength.
• THE EU IS AN AGENT WITH FORCE Æ serves to picture the EU either as active agent or as impacted by the action of other political agents.
• THE EU IS A PERSON Æ general ontologization for collective processes and intentions; also used to criticize a one-sided concern with institutional issues instead of an international perspective.
Kimmel, Metaphors of the EU constitutional debate
• THE EU IS AN ANIMATE BEING Æ emphasizes coming into existence and being sired, growth, and a need to survive; it can also emphasize that the EU is a difficult to control monster (Guardian only).
Let us now look at the patterns concerned with EU membership and its consequences:
• THE EU IS A CONTAINER comes in two relatively unconnected variants:
o EU MEMBERSHIP IS BEING ENGULFED Æ highlights the threat the EU poses to Britain and of being drawn into a huge entity against one’s will.
o EU MEMBERSHIP IS ENTERING A CONTAINER Æ emphasizes the either-or nature of membership and the possibility of keeping others out.
• IMPORTANT EU MEMBERS ARE CENTRAL Æ emphasizes differences in status or importance; is also used to envisage a reduced “Core Europe”.
• EU MEMBERSHIP IS MEMBERSHIP IN A CLUB Æ emphasizes dominant agents, the exclusive and rule-bound nature of membership as well as conditions for joining (Guardian only).
• THE EU IS A SUPERSTATE Æ emphasizes that nation states lose influence through the EU and in a few instances that it has international clout.
B. The specific target of EU integration is organized by the mapping EU
INTEGRATION IS A JOURNEY and its path related aspects:
• THE MODALITY OF EU INTEGRATION IS A CHOSEN PACE Æ emphasizes progress as being continuous, rushed, too inactive, or too slow.
• EU POLICY IS A CHOSEN DIRECTION / DECISIONMAKERS ARE LEADERS Æ emphasizes decisions about the EU’s future being (un)clear or wrong, and that the integration process has powerful advocates.
• DIFFICULTIES IN INTEGRATION ARE IMPEDIMENTS Æ emphasizes the No as obstacle to further integration; converges with “gridlock” of institutional functioning and “streamlining” to avoid it (Guardian only).
• A PAUSE FOR REFLECTION IS STEPPING BACK Æ warns against rushing decisions after the No.
• A POLITICAL AGENT / THE CONSTITUTION IS THE INTEGRATION’S DRIVING FORCE Æ suggests the role either of the constitution or of particular politicians as a cause of integration.
C. Concerning metaphors for the constitution, a first group shares the journey structure just discussed. The mapping THE CONSTITUTION IS A MOVING ENTITY engenders the following variants:
• PASSING THE CONSTITUTION IS MOVING AHEAD Æ emphasizes continuous progress.
• DIFFICULTY IS TIRING MOVEMENT Æ emphasizes current difficulties and main “hurdles”.
• SUCCESS IS GAINING MOMENTUM Æ expresses the achieved degree of success.
• PASSING THE CONSTITUTION AGAINST POPULAR WILL IS FORCING IT THROUGH Æ emphasizes that it is illegitimate to act against public opinion.
• OPPOSING THE CONSTITUTION IS BLOCKING ITS ADVANCE Æ highlights possibilities of counteraction against EU integration.
o INTRODUCING THE CONSTITUTION PIECE-MEAL IS ENTRY BY STEALTH Æ highlights the illegitimacy of overturning the will of the public.
• THE CONSTITUTION IS A SHAPING FORCE Æ highlights how the constitution impacts other policy fields and integration.
o THE CONSTITUTION’S FORCE KEEPS EU INTEGRATION GOING Æ makes the constitution a causal mover and “engine” in the face of other difficulties that have slowed down the advance.
o THE CONSTITUTION’S FORCE WEIGHS DOWN ON THE ECONOMY Æ
expresses the British fear of a too “Socialist” constitution.
o THE CONSTITUTION’S FORCE DAMAGES RIGHTS Æ emphasizes how social rights will be neglected, etc.
Furthermore, the constitution can be couched in the ontology of objects or animacy:
• THE CONSTITUTION IS AN EDIFICE
o THE CONSTITUTION’S CONTENT IS ITS ARCHITECTURE Æ highlights the ideational structure of the constitution, the effort underlying it, and its soundness or not.
o THE CONSTITUTION IS A RAMSHACKLE EDIFICE Æ highlights the unsound contents and justifies the rejection.
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• THE CONSTITUTION IS A (JUNK-WORTHY) OBJECT
o THE CONSTITUTION’S DEMISE IS OBJECT DESTRUCTION Æ highlights complete unsoundness.
o THE CONSTITUTION’S DEMISE IS OBJECT REMOVAL Æ highlights temporary unsoundness.
• THE CONSTITUTION IS A LIVING BODY
o THE CONSTITUTION'S DEMISE IS DEATH Æ highlights that the constitution’s rejection is final, the violent nature of the rejection, and the agents who hold responsible it.
o THE CONSTITUTION'S DEMISE IS ILLNESS Æ highlights that the constitution is seriously endangered by the No, but that a chance exists.
In all of this, we thus get a view of the constitution as a DYSFUNCTIONAL OBJECT or DYSFUNCTIONAL BODY that becomes temporarily or permanently obsolete, depending on the degree of damage. Finally, two very specific and idiomatic patterns evaluate the degree of change that the constitution will bring about and emphasize how deeply its acceptance would affect British sovereignty:
• THE CONSTITUTION IS A BLUEPRINT FOR TYRANNY Æ highlights the negative expected effects on British sovereignty and the undemocratic nature of the EU.
• THE CONSTITUTION IS FOR TIDYING UP EXISTING EUROPEAN TREATIES Æ highlights that the treaty principally simplifies existing legislation and promotes the EU’s effectiveness, but does not change the EU fundamentally.
D. The constitution’s rejection constitutes a target that is variously expressed in a force-dynamic scenario of elites who succumb to the voter’s force:
• THE NO IS A VIOLENT FORCE Æ comes in variants, all of which highlight the vehement and consequential nature of the voter reaction.
o THE NO IS A KNOCK-OUT BLOW DELIVERED BY THE VOTERS and, more particularly, THE POLITICAL ELITES ARE FIGHTERS SUFFERING BLOWS Æ highlights that the No threatens the elites’ interests or even their careers.
o THE NO IS WARFARE Æ emphasizes the damage to other fields such as enlargement.
o THE NO IS A REVOLUTION Æ emphasizes the voter’s motive to punish the elites.
o THE NO IS A NATURAL FORCE Æ highlights that the No’s effects are sudden, unexpected, and too strong to be opposed.
• THE NO IS A DISASTER Æ highlights the huge problems the elites face; fits well with the previous patterns because force is a likely precursor.
• THE NO IS A LOUD NOISE Æ highlights that it is impossible to ignore the No, that reactions are called for, and that attempts to downplay it are illegitimate; fits well with violent forces.
E. The debate, including the pro- and con-campaigns, constitutes a small target domain in its own right. The metaphors express the commentators’ view of the style and nature of the discourse they are participating in:
• THE CAMPAIGN/DEBATE IS WARFARE Æ emphasizes the conflict-ridden nature of the debate, strategy issues, fervor, and that much is at stake; specification of POLITICS IS WARFARE.
• CAMPAIGNING IS USING FORCE Æ highlights vehemence, required effort, counteraction, and vying interests; specification of ARGUMENTS ARE FORCES; comes in sub-patterns:
o CAMPAIGNING IS PRODUCING MOMENTUM ON A PATH Æ used for the campaign’s effectiveness.
o CAMPAIGNING IS VYING WITH THE OPPONENT Æ emphasizes opposite political interests.
• THE CAMPAIGN IS A RACE (Guardian only) Æ emphasizes competitive aspects of campaigning such as opposition, difficulty, and the relative success of two parties.
• THE CAMPAIGN IS SELLING DUBIOUS GOODS TO THE CITIZENS (Sun only) Æ emphasizes that pro-constitution propaganda manipulates the public or spreads disinformation.
• THE CAMPAIGN IS A PLOT AGAINST THE CITIZENS (Sun only) Æ idem.
3.2 Why search for conceptual affinities?
If metaphor analysis is to offer a valid perspective, features defining a discourse qua discourse should be reflected in metaphors. First, discourse should allow for some diversity of opinion based on a socio-cultural common ground. Thus, it is important to look at how conceptual metaphors become differentiated to accommodate alternative viewpoints. We have seen that opinion diversity is possible within all occurring conceptual metaphor
patterns, minimally because any metaphor can at least be rejected, but also for
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more complex reasons we will get to. Even more importantly, conceptual metaphors should define a range of things people want to speak about and they should interrelate them meaningfully. Here, my data points to a large – but of course limited – number of conceptual metaphors in use. A palpable general picture within each newspaper, the paper’s line, remains discernible even if reported views of other speakers “dilute” this. Hence, journalists deploy metaphors in mutually supportive ways, and our task after enumerating all conceptual metaphors is to examine the mechanisms that integrate them. My assumption is that conceptual metaphors will be perceived as integrated by readers who are regularly exposed to the media and that, a fortiori, its makers (journalists, politicians) are acutely aware of the integrative patterns. Although I cannot undertake the necessary psycholinguistic experiment to prove this, we may reason that if it is possible to reconstruct a broad set of logical affinities, this points to high metaphor induced discourse coherence in real minds. Coherence patterns become visible only by considering parallels and affinities from a bird’s eye view. As Quinn (2005) convincingly argues in a key methods paper on empirical metaphor research, this comprehensive approach allows the researcher to deduce what ordinary speakers actually know, although this knowledge does seldom surface en bloc. At the surface, we typically see selected small chains that need to be pieced together.
3.3 Affinity based on source or target domain logic
Having familiarized ourselves with the specific argumentative uses of conceptual metaphors in section 2, we are now in a position to scan the data for plausible coherence patterns. In this section, I will show that the coherence between conceptual metaphors can be based on similar source or similar target domains. Goatly (1997, 2007) has dubbed different target/same source
multivalency, and different source/same target diversification.
3.3.1 Activation spread due to target domain similarities
Non-identical target domains will always overlap associatively in a clearly delimited discourse such as ours. The inherent topical relatedness of targets can become a basis for metaphor coherence because it might let a source domain appear applicable across the board.14 For example, there is an obvious parallelism between seeing the EU and the constitution as an edifice. Both mappings highlight design and structural integrity (or their absence). Similarly, the post-referendum crisis metaphors depict several target entities as falling apart, being split, snubbed, wrecked, or discarded. It is secondary for the Sun’s commentators whether this is the EU, its old-style social model, the constitutional treaty, or a future British referendum. The argumentative impact (and, predictably, the glee of the readers) comes from the violence of destroying just any entity related to the EU. The logical transfer from the EU to the constitution is due to metonymical relations within the wider domain of “all things related to the EU”. Likewise, the-No-as-warfare impacts not only the constitution. Its “collateral damage” afflicts targets like EU enlargement. To provide yet another example, in two of the most frequent patterns, the EU and the constitution are both metaphorically expressed as entities in motion. The conceptual metaphor EU INTEGRATION IS A JOURNEY is naturally extended to include its major “enabler”, the constitutional treaty, yielding the subsidiary mapping THE CONSTITUTION IS A MOVING ENTITY. Again, the ease of extension can be explained as associative activation spread in the wider target domain or, more specifically, through the well attested conceptual metonymy CAUSE FOR EFFECT that lets the prospective cause of further EU integration stand for the integration as such.
14 This means that coherence results as a spill-over from a metaphor “that started it all”, perhaps because the word “European” suggests such a connection. An alternative explanation is that similar metaphors get chosen because the speaker’s foreknowledge of the target domains connects them in some more principled way. For diagnosing coherence, it remains unsubstantial if its reason is some prior conceptual similarity of domains or a mere spill-over between them.
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3.3.2 Affinity through shared image schemas (source domain similarity)
Next, I will look at affinities between conceptual metaphors within the same target (e.g. the EU, the No, …), based on a non-identical, yet connected source domain logic. Under this and the following headings I will discuss various sources that lead to a sufficient degree of source domain similarity.
One major basis for similarity is image-schematic. Image-schematic scaffolds commonly characterize the source domain’s basic ontology such as PATH, FORCE, ENTITY, and STRUCTURE. A basic image-schematic coherence extends between specific level mappings that can claim a subordinate status to the same generic level mapping. We saw this with THE NO IS A VIOLENT FORCE which subsumes fisticuffs, war, natural force, and revolution. The source domains all instantiate violent forces. These are similar at the level of causal source (which is external) and manner of motion (which is vehement and abrupt).15 In another sense, each source domain adds something not shared such as social dissatisfaction, naturalization, and the emphasis on an event not to be ignored. However, this should not keep us from saying that a part of the metaphors’ meanings is coherent at one level.
An opinion about the best course of action can correspond to a single image schema (within a broader scenario setting), that we can discern in otherwise unrelated source domains. For instance, the Sun’s main message to the readers seems to be OPPOSITION IS BLOCKAGE. It corresponds to a simple image schema that is variously couched as imposing red lines, torpedoing the constitution, opposing its backdoor entry, and opposing is being “foisted on us”. In all these instances, it is the British public exerting counterforce or creating a blocking impediment. Likewise, we have seen how the image schema DISSOLUTION OF STRUCTURE can be instantiated across different rich source domains. The EU is depicted as ”faltering” and “collapsing” (Body or Building), “unraveling” (Fabric), “rickety Heath Robinson structures” (Building), or “sclerotic” (Body). All of the expressions instantiate DISSOLUTION
15 For the same reason, general lexis for physical forces such as “shake” converges with more specific body strength related expressions like “flexing its muscles”. The latter is situated at a more specific level. Yet, bodies belong to the general class of physical forces. It comes down to a descriptive choice whether we call it diversification or choose the generic formula with the benefit that all kinds of physical force can be subsumed.
OF STRUCTURE for the target EU and some of them UP-DOWN in addition. The image schema is partly independent of the richer knowledge we possess of bodies, buildings, or fabrics. Why alternative expressions exist in language to frame the relevant image-schematic notion is best explained through the Invariance Hypothesis (Lakoff 1990). It claims that the image-schematic fit of a source is a primary factor for enabling a successful mapping. From this angle, image schemas capture relevant coherence patterns because the first and irreducible portion of what gets mapped is the same. The rich domains “Body”, “Building”, and “Fabric” are enlisted because they constitute a suitable carrier for (or show optimal fit with) the intended image schema. All three work equally well as rich sources, because they express functionality in terms of structure and dissolution imagery. It may be noted that many possible aspects of bodies, buildings and fabrics are missing in actually found mappings. This view chimes with Grady’s theory (1997), who argues that a lot of knowledge from the rich domains remains unused, because primary metaphors, perhaps in combinations of two or three, are what the actual mappings are motivated by. Hence, in our example, a primary formula such as THE EU’S / THE CONSTITUTION’S ORGANIZATION IS A STRUCTURED PHYSICAL ENTITY might capture best what gets mapped.
3.3.3 Beyond image schemas
Despite what was just said, many mappings are not reducible to image- schematic properties. It has previously been noted that the Invariance Hypothesis, in its original form, has difficulties explaining some mappings. What is mapped from the source can rest on non-image-schematic inferences deriving from what Ruiz de Mendoza calls Extended Invariance (1998). The same is true for two mappings when we search for similarities in their source domains. The analysis of the inferentially richer source domain structure as opposed to the image-schematic aspects leads to analytically equally valid, yet different sets of metaphors for our comparison. Take CAMPAIGNING FOR THE CONSTITUTION IS WAR and CAMPAIGNING FOR THE CONSTITUTION IS A PHYSICAL FORCE: Both emphasize the antagonistic nature of campaigning equally well because warfare is mainly an act of force. At this level, they form a set. Yet, strategic aspects of war, a frequent emphasis in our data, appear to be more
complex than image schemas. What is more, by comparing “war strategy”
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with “game plan” we can see that some similarity generating strands reach out in a direction orthogonal to image-schematic logic and thereby implicate force- unrelated domains. From this viewpoint, war and game metaphors constitute an equally interesting analytic set. Further below, I will bring knowledge aspects such as strategy into connection with affinities of causal structure.16
3.3.4 Affinity through image schema transformations
Sometimes we need to figure out an affinity by performing small image schema transformations. Impediments on the path of integration converge with a state of “gridlock” in the machinery scenario, an impediment to a circular motion of a cogwheel. One simply has to mentally transform the forward motion to a circular motion (basic biker’s knowledge, as it were) to see that the force and the force blockage schemas are otherwise identical. This image-schematic similarity can be detected on the basis of applying naive physics.
3.3.5 Affinity through antithetical image schemas
Of course, sameness between image schemas is not all that human minds are able to make sense of. Antithetical relations between them may play an equally important role for creating discourse coherence, as long as one metaphor is uttered with an awareness of the other’s oppositeness. For example, the opposition of a navel-gazing with a more outward-looking Europe lends itself to an ironic inversion. Exploiting this image-schematic similarity, the Sun sometimes equates the core countries with the navel-gazing ones. Thus, an attribute thought of as positive (IMPORTANT IS CENTRAL) turns into a negative one (SELF-CENTERED IS CENTRAL). The idea that irony or ambiguity is usually image schema based comes from Turner (1996:66), but it also underlies several examples given by Goatly (2007:chapter 5).
16 This demonstrates the importance of my deliberate methodological decision to code image-schematic aspects of source domains independently in addition to rich source domains (“two tier coding”, cf. Kimmel, n.d.). Having image-schemas represented in the software keeps all quotes with a shared image-schematic pattern retrievable at a mouse click.
3.3.6 Affinity by image schema inversion (metaphor duals)
A specific kind of affinity relates to metaphor duals, i.e. two inverse image- schematic construals of a conceived scene (Lakoff & Johnson 1999). Duals switch trajector and landmark, i.e. who is the primary entity in motion and who is defined relative to it. Especially in the Sun, we find an affinity between container related metaphors that instantiate EU MEMBERSHIP IS ENTERING A CONTAINER and others that instantiate EU MEMBERSHIP IS BEING ENGULFED. The implication of the former is AVOIDING INVOLVEMENT IN THE EU IS KEEPING OUT OF IT. The agent, the nation state, is in motion and the EU is the static backdrop. The implication of the latter is AVOIDING INVOLVEMENT IN THE EU IS BLOCKING IT. Now, the nation state is static and the EU is in motion towards it. Both conceptual metaphors suggest the same basic gestalt configuration, with the difference that the constituents of agent, object, and ground are construed in different ways. (The difference of course lies in how aggressive the EU is considered). A speakers’ cognitive unconscious will connect both levels based on a gestalt similarity and will frequently allow generating expressions by viewpoint switch.
3.3.7 Affinity based on a correspondence of causal structure
What is shared between two or more conceptual metaphors can also relate to a shared abstract causal pattern in the source domain (cf. Lakoff & Johnson
1980:93ff). Speaking of the constitution’s rejection, the source domains “Lifespan” and “Object/structural integrity” are found. People know in an abstract way that the consequences of death are similar to destroying an object. A stake driven through a vampire’s heart shares the structure of an object consigned to the shredder. We know, of course, that death refers to animate beings, whereas the object-related metaphors do not. Yet, in both cases the established shape is destroyed and normal functioning impaired. At an abstract level a shared event structure of the following sort connects the
“causal stimulus occurs” Æ “an entity ceases to be permanent/functional and therefore changes ontological status”
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This abstract causal similarity lies in a script-like scaffold defining the event’s sequence. Such similarities between sources are not based on image-schematic features in the usual sense, but on relational ones.17 Discourse coherence here owes to the fact that two structure mappings, as Lakoff and Johnson (1980) define them, share an array of abstract correspondences. To provide another example, machinery-metaphors are similar to building-metaphors in respects going beyond structural integrity and dissolution. The European nations in the machine’s engine room correspond to the edifice’s architects (mapped feature: “agent in charge of the process”). Causal structure seems to be another case of Extended Invariance. If we still choose to think of our examples as image- schematic, the image schemas must be of the highest level kind. Relational knowledge may comprise a high-level image schema (Kimmel 2002) if we consider candidates such as COMPLEX SYSTEM TERMINATED (i.e. an abstract notion that a cause impinges on an entity and effects a change that renders the system dysfunctional) or SUSTAINED CAUSAL AGENT (i.e. an abstract cause continuously shapes a process).
3.3.8 Affinity based on evaluation of effect
The perhaps loosest kind of affinity occurs when evaluative entailments are shared between two source domains, but that is about all. Compare, for instance, PRO-EU PROPAGANDA IS SELLING (DUBIOUS) GOODS and PRO-EU PROPAGANDA IS A PLOT. The source domains differ in their causal-intentional structure (active effort to convince vs. causing a disturbance/creating something harmful on the sly). Yet, both mappings emphasize the illegitimate nature of propaganda, simply because both result in some negative effect on the citizens. In this way and similar other ways, metaphors can be related at the level of their rhetorical emotive functions when the source domains carry the same evaluative load about an effect.
17 The notion of relational similarities, as opposed to feature-related ones, was explored by Gentner (1983) as a way of explaining correspondences between metaphor sources and targets. Again, the difference in the present context is that relational similarities extend between two different mappings that share a similar source.
3.4 Metaphor coherence in a dynamic perspective
Next, I will turn to coherence-creating devices that result from conceptual dynamization, that is when we give metaphors a more narrative format. Speakers commonly tell metaphorical stories about an issue to make a point, as in the following journey frame: The EU has faced difficulties in the recent years (“integration is stalling”), which is why constitution is needed to “streamline” the bulky object. They also envisage alternatives in a narrative way: A Yes to the constitution would enable EU integration and give it “unstoppable momentum”, while the No would stop this movement.
3.4.1 Central mappings create associative coherence
Before we turn to narratively couched metaphors let us briefly consider coherence in the absence of such mechanisms. Before metaphors are given a particular narrative twist they are represented as central mappings, following Kövecses (2002) and Musolff (2004:19). For instance, the time-honored idiom “body politic” reflects this ontologically irreducible level of conceptualization. Central mappings are apparently represented in the conceptual system at a level rather unspecific to what a speaker wishes to make of his or her topic. We have seen that THE EU IS A BODY can give rise to a diversity of rather unrelated argumentation points or storylines. An argument for slimming the EU down, i.e. the aspect of body girth, seems to be quite faraway from an invective against institutional navel-gazing, and that again differs from a call for building up political muscle. Hence, the central mapping THE EU IS A BODY spawns hugely different specific mappings because so many different body features lend themselves to metaphorical use. In view of this diversity, I propose that central mappings of this sort unify discourse, but do so only indirectly. In the Lakoff-Johnson tradition we would probably say that the EU as a body is a productive structural mapping which systematically connects a set of sub-mappings by virtue of belonging to a conceptual domain. We might alternatively say that, because of the hugely differing grounds of the mappings, a term that Goatly (1997) draws attention to, we have no single conceptual metaphor here at all. Our example would rather conform to Goatly’s metaphor diversification in which different source domains shed light on different aspects
of the target domain EU. Whichever parlance we prefer, the coherence link
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between the mappings is associative and more at the domain level, rather than laying claim to some shared conceptual content in the narrow sense.
3.4.2 Metaphor scenarios create a common ground for diverse opinions
As a counterpart to a central mapping Musolff coins the term metaphor scenario. Scenarios provide “main story lines or perspectives along which the central mappings are developed or extended” (2004:18) and thus situate them in one of several possible action configurations with particular participants and roles. What does the difference amount to? Apparently, sometimes we simply think in static metaphoric features. For this a central mapping suffices, e.g. when we use THE CONSTITUTION IS AN OBJECT WITH STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY to point out that one considers it well-made or unsound in its content. More typically however, we think quasi-narratively and in terms of “who does what to whom?”. In an argumentatively more elaborated form THE CONSTITUTION’S REJECTION IS OBJECT DESTRUCTION/REMOVAL is created as a dynamized spin-off from the central mapping. Metaphor scenarios thus bestow a greater argumentative situatedness on conceptualizations.18
Metaphor scenarios provide a common discursive currency for otherwise diverging opinions. The central mapping THE CONSTITUTION IS A LIVING BEING provides a shared reference frame for speakers, who may otherwise disagree, but is not particularly conducive to the expression of opinion diversity about an event. Only derivative dynamic scenarios like REJECTION IS HEALTH DAMAGE allow debating the present state, i.e. whether the treaty is “alive”, in “coma”, or “dead” after the Noes. The source domain script heavy-illness-followed-by- death (or recuperation) is used to discuss Europe’s problematic state. Death suggests finality, whereas illness is less final, and comes somewhere in between. Similarly, the No conceived of as a damaging blow accommodates opinion diversity by being final or “a blow for the constitutional process, but not the end of it”. And, “dumped”,” scrapped”, “scuppered”, or “shelved” share the basic object ontology, but one action is further reaching than the
18 It appears that metaphor scenarios primarily occur as what Zinken et al. (2008:365) call discourse metaphors “preserving a relatively high level of specificity and relatively rich cultural knowledge in the source domain”.
other. (When something “cobbled together” does not work, we first put it aside, but we may eventually really dump it). A key function of scenarios in discourse is that they allow speakers to juxtapose and compare different courses of action within a central mapping.
Secondly, our example indicates another important point: Only what happens on a scenario level reveals the speaker’s opinion, because central mappings inherently under-specify any specific viewpoint. A dynamic scenario is needed to predict argumentative valence, among several other discourse modulators such as negation, hedges, emotional downtoners, etc. (see Kimmel, n.d., Koller 2003).
Thirdly, turning a central mapping into a scenario allows for creativity and thereby powerful, non-conventional inferences, as in the following example:
“Constantly moving the EU institutional furniture about only breeds more anxiety” (Guardian 118).
This speaker seems to imply that the post-referendum crisis calls for a single thorough rebuilding of the House, rather than perpetual small changes. The idea of institutional furniture, not to speak of rearranging it, goes well beyond the EU IS A HOUSE mapping; it is an extension. Similarly, all of the metaphor extensions and elaborations discussed in section 2 were situated at the scenario level, which is what typically happens.
3.4.3 How events, agency, causality, and states become complementary in metaphor scenarios
Equipped with this basic notion, we may now look at multi-component scenarios in which ostensibly independent central mappings come to co- specify each other. A ramshackle building that collapses or an object that is battered goes with a forceful, violent action. It is a common experience that a force damages a well-put together object. THE NO IS A NATURAL FORCE enters into natural affinity with THE CONSTITUTION IS A WELL-MADE OBJECT/ERECT EDIFICE, resulting in the compound scenario THE NO DESTROYS/TOPPLES THE CONSTITUTION. This aligns a metaphorical agent, the No, with a metaphorical
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recipient of force, the constitution. By way of activation spread from one target domain to the next, the related view THE EU IS A DAMAGED EDIFICE results.19
Another scenario-based complementation comes about when a force is added to a process to make it into an action (i.e. to bestow a cause on it through CAUSATION IS DRIVING). The highly frequent pattern EU INTEGRATION IS A MOTION ON A PATH receives the addition THE CONSTITUTION IS A FORCE KEEPING THE EU GOING. This supplies an “engine” for the movement. Further enrichment is achieved by adding an obstacle that explains why this engine is much needed, i.e. DIFFICULTIES IN THE EU’S FUNCTIONING ARE PATH BLOCKAGES. While all of these patterns are independently found, the ones further down the logical chain automatically implicate those higher up.
There is a basic cognitive rationale to the fact that entity related metaphors tend to become specified by force metaphors. Humans tend to think of what happens in terms of causal actions. Talmy (2000) claims that causation is understood in terms of force-dynamic interactions like impelling or attracting. Hence, events understood as actions, and not mere occurrences, require force- dynamic conceptualizations. These, in turn, need to be populated with ontologized entities. Much metaphoric discourse coherence comes about because (previously static) ontologizations of entities get inserted in force related scenarios. Hence, ontological and force-dynamic conceptualizations converge naturally as metaphorical patient and metaphorical agent/action.
A complementation of a different sort occurs between path and container- metaphors. Combining the idea EU IS A CONTAINER with the idea that a nation state’s INTEGRATION IS A PATH may give rise to AVOIDING INVOLVEMENT IN THE EU IS KEEPING OUT OF IT. The mutual fit is quite natural. In the source domain of spatial relations, path motion happens on a ground, including approximate regions or even sharply delineated container-like zones. Thus, container metaphors enrich path-metaphors by specifying states or institutional settings with the properties of states.
19 Even if an individual speaker suddenly came to realize that the familiar idea of the “EU House”, etc. invites the possibility of damaging, the possibility has been there all along in the source domain’s ontology.
Overall, a conceptual complementation of agent, patient/recipient, causality, and changing states (or any subset of these) can be created from constituents of independent metaphors. The affinity between path, force, and container source domains is due to the fact that events, causes, and states need to be specified for a full logical structure of what happens, whereby each of the three source domains fulfills a complementary role. Thus, a rather typical goal of inferring coherence in metaphorical discourse is to connect several thematic groups of conceptual metaphor within a mini-narrative (Kimmel 2005, cf. Lakoff & Johnson 1980:92).
3.4.4 Experiential motivation in a primary scene
Why do metaphorical mini-narratives arise? How can the affinities be explained? One answer I have just explored, i.e. the claim that the source domains “Path”, “Force” and “Container” become mutually supporting because we know that these go together in all kinds of experienced events. The interlocking image schemas frequently reflect an experiential coherence of a more concrete sort. For instance, the earthquake/landslide/tsunami- metaphors for the No connect naturally with the constitutional edifice/object- metaphors, because these natural forces and destruction are metonymically linked in everyday experience. Aspects expressed in different metaphors may thus be motivated in a single and more concrete human experience. Primary scenes may lie at the origin of instances when speakers perceive two source domains as connected.20 When source aspects from different conceptual metaphors go together in a prototypical everyday experience, it is easy to connect them in the mind. The referendal No that occurs in FORCE-related metaphors is another example. This force scenario can easily incorporate the sudden, loud noise (a bang, sneezing, or a ringing clock) used to emphasize that the No cannot be
20 My suggestion bears some similarity to a point made by Grady (1997). He claims that experiential co-occurrence in infancy can motivate how source and target become connected in conceptual metaphor. For example, AFFECTION IS WARMTH and RELATIONSHIPS ARE ENCLOSURES are both motivated in the infant’s experience of being held tight by a caretaker. This is what Grady dubs a “primary scene”, which involves the experiential co-occurrence of source and target. A similar kind of explanation can be provided for the affinity between independent metaphors.
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ignored. Vehemence and loud noise are directly correlated in experience. Objects and the possibility of breaking them go together, as do sudden movement and noises. Based on this primary scene, the No as destructive force and the bang naturally cohere. We may hypothesize that the human repertoire of primary scenes is a major impetus for building appropriate extensions to metaphors that are already around in discourse. A journalist might begin to use a loud noise metaphor because he has used force- metaphors before and simply extends these through experiential logic.
3.4.5 The top-most level of coherence: Force-dynamic interaction patterns
The possibly most general unifying mechanism between different conceptual metaphors emerges from role distributions and agent interactions they share. (Most metaphors at least implicitly require a conceptualization of both of these dimensions). We can analytically capture roles and interactions by analyzing the implied force dynamics. Politics is about antagonism in the dominant line of thinking and thereby exhibits the prototypical force-dynamic pattern. A great many political metaphors reveal a vying forces-model. In our data, this interaction pattern concerns the antagonism of the pro- vs. anti-constitution camps as well as that of the elites vs. the voters. Both antagonisms reflect a polar structure. If we probe the data further, this general role distribution is characteristic of three sets of source domains, i.e. “Journey/container”,
”Edifice/machine/object”, and “Life”. The anti-constitution camp opposes the EU establishment in (1) wanting to block its advance, (2) wanting to pull down its structures against efforts to keep it functional, and (3) wanting to kill it, and thereby again stop it, in face of efforts to keep it alive and kicking. Force- dynamics analysis requires us to ask who is agonist and who antagonist, who has which intrinsic motion tendency, who’s force is stronger, and who moves or stops whom in the resulting dynamic. If we apply this, we get two types of logical correspondences. We can see that metaphor sets (1) and (3) overlap in the specific inference that the constitution’s success equals motion, unless the counterforce prevails. With a somewhat different logic, metaphor sets (2) and (3) overlap in a different inference, namely that the anti-constitution camp aims at rendering the treaty dysfunctional through physical destruction. The one side of the interaction involves a force aiming to preserve an object’s
functional shape, i.e. the proponents’ tendency to stay in place. (At the
epistemic level this is mirrored in an adherence to its belief in the constitution). Opposed to it is a counterforce aiming to demolish the object. (At the epistemic level this means overcoming the inertia of the belief that the constitution still has a chance).
A force-dynamic coherence can be effective even when it is less than absolute. In our campaigning metaphors, there are certain shared aspects between racing the opponent and vying with the opponent. Force is exerted and superior strength is needed in either, but the path aspect is different in a race. (One races against one’s fatigue or lack of fitness, as it were, if we must stay in the agonist-antagonist framework). Another case of incomplete overlap comes about when new participants get added to a configuration of agents. Apparently, the basic force-dynamics pattern can almost always be extended into a more complex configuration. For instance, in speaking of “swinging the [public opinion] tide”, the two-agent pattern underlying the competition between the two political camps gets extended into a triple interaction. Now, the purpose of the campaign is to cause the voters, the third agent, to move in one’s own direction, while the opponents are trying to achieve the same thing. My point is that even when a fine-grained analysis makes out the difference, the all-important configuration defined by agents and their vying force remains part of the now augmented scene. Hence, a degree of coherence results with the aforementioned bipartisan metaphors.
3.5 Textual metaphor interaction
So far I have looked at inferred connections that need not surface textually. I now turn to conceptual interactions between metaphors that become demonstrable in the text itself. Connections manifestly surface either in tight syntactic metaphor compounds or, more often, in passages with several adjacent metaphors occurring within a sentence of two.
3.5.1 Metaphor diversification
Diversification has been treated in part 2, which summarizes diversified conceptual metaphors for the same target under a heading each and thereby shows how they cover complementary aspects of the EU, the constitution, etc. The only necessary addition is that diversification quite typically occurs in
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single text passages to describe a target from different angles. This heightens thematic coherence through within-argument cohesion:
“Over the past few years, the EU has become something of a juggernaut and I fear it has become so concerned with navel-gazing that it has actually lost touch with the populations of Europe” (Guardian 214).
Here, the EU IS A MONSTER, the EU IS A SELF-PERCEIVING BODY and THE EU IS A REMOTE ENTITY/BODY are combined to shed light on various aspects of the same target, namely the EU’s growth, its internal behavior, and its external behavior.
3.5.2 Metaphor composition
Lakoff and Turner define metaphor composition as the “simultaneous use of two or more […] metaphors in the same passage, or even in the same sentence” (1989:70f). Composition is frequent in unique acts of poetic creativity. Of course, the discursively most interesting instances of composition are those that are found more pervasively, such as the following:
“Brussels will stretch every sinew to drag it in through the back door” (Sun 59).21
Here, IMPLEMENTING THE CONSTITUTION IS A JOURNEY (and THE EU IS ITS MOTOR) are creatively combined with the more implicit mapping THE NATION IS A HOUSE or THE EU IS A HOUSE (depending on the perspective the hearer attributes to the sentence). This results in a house-entry scenario, i.e. INTRODUCING THE CONSTITUTION IS BACKDOOR ENTRY, thus spelling out that trying to proceed with the treaty after its rejection is illegitimate. Two mechanisms contribute to this. First, the two image schemas need to be matched. The PATH is superimposed on a house-CONTAINER. (This relates to the above mentioned complementariness of agent, cause, and setting but with the difference that two expressions realize a compound structure in situ).
21 The expression in fact permits interpretation as extension or composition depending whether we think of one single or of two combined metaphor units. Recall that we have characterized extension as exploiting a part of a source domain that is not conventionally used and as thereby activating “dormant” slots.
Second, a number of inferences that the image schemas per se do not license are introduced by what speakers consider the standard way to enter a house. The inference of illegitimacy emerges with our rich cultural knowledge that private spaces should remain inviolate, that the owners should grant entry to houses, and that entering by the back-door is a typical act of deception. Again, the speaker has to imagine the scenario in its full specificity do produce the appropriate inferences. This is neither part of the PATH nor the CONTAINER imagery, but emerges from inserting the two together into a richer context.
3.5.3 Argumentative interlocking by metaphor pastiche
What I call metaphor pastiche occurs when the speaker creates a metaphor cluster in which metaphors cohere textually, whereas at the conceptual level they interact only loosely (cf. Goatly 1997:chapter 7). Such “mixed” metaphor clusters are common in my corpus and account for about half of all metaphors (Kimmel 2009b). Many clusters comprise pastiche patterns. To exemplify a metaphor pastiche, the conventional metaphor of the “House of Europe”, usually used with positive undertones, can be turned into a negative statement by adding further metaphors:
“The House of Europe has been built by stealth and deception; … What has been created is an anti-democratic and anti-freedom monolith and the backlash is here” (Guardian 170).
Let us first note that the commonly understood main meaning focus of the European House is shared responsibility and effort. The two most important metaphors that add to THE EU IS A HOUSE are that of “stealth and deception” (POLITICS IS CONSPIRACY) and “monolith” (THE EU IS A RIGID OBJECT). I will not discuss the “backlash” metaphor (DISGRUNTLEDNESS IS COUTERFORCE) because it belongs to the next thought already. Now, stealth is not really connected to our prototypical knowledge of how houses are built. The metaphor has been added more or less ad hoc to create a strange scenario in which someone constructs a house on the sly, something that is hardly typical in experience. The monolith’s fit with houses is equally flimsy. True, there is a shared OBJECT/STRUCTURE ontology creating a superficial semantic connection. The implications of the word monolith (a hermetic, rigid and internally coherent object) might apply to houses, but not with the critical thrust we find here.
Calling a house rigid misrepresents what the speaker means. At the intended
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plane of meaning, a monolith is mapped onto an unchangeable institutional structure to criticize that the EU does not welcome democratic change. This criticism bypasses the logic of houses. The only conceivable connection is the atypical assumption that the house should be inherently open to rebuilding. Thus, to make sense of the monolith-metaphor one will usually switch to a logical plane outside the house scenario. A new aspect is highlighted and a slightly different conceptualization of the topic is opened.
Hence, what defines a pastiche is the presence of (a) some degree of contextual, syntactic, or basic-level semantic integration between the metaphors, yet (b) no motivated extension of the first metaphor, not to speak of a primary scene that links them all. In the more extreme cases of a pastiche, it is only textual cohesion or syntactic compounding that prompts us to merge the metaphors conceptually.
The study validates the claim that conceptual metaphors, besides explaining diversity within, integrate discourse. My study is rooted in a double claim harking back to Lakoff and Johnson (1980). Their more or less universally recognized first contention is that sets of expressions manifesting the same underlying conceptual metaphor in and of themselves point to discourse coherence. A less frequently received claim made by Lakoff and Johnson is that coherence may be further heightened by affinities between conceptual metaphors. This essay has aimed at understanding discourse as an interwoven fabric at this level of higher affinities. Recognizing that the woof and warp of metaphoric discourse is not of a single kind, I have showcased the varieties of filament that can create such a fabric. Some of these connective strands depend on activation spread in the source or target domains, while others capitalize on the ability to interrelate knowledge narratively. The most important focus of my discussion was activation spread in the source domain (mainly because the target domain logic is rather self-explanatory and already emerges from the descriptive survey). Under the heading of source domain mechanisms, I have discussed various ontological similarities rooted in image schemas, causal, and evaluative structure. Towards the end, I turned to the ability to creatively
juxtapose or interlock metaphors in a more ad hoc fashion.
Overall, a study of metaphor coherence opens an interesting vista on the broader issue of argumentation. One possible reason for metaphor coherence is that more encompassing conceptual structures play a guiding role in discourse production. Other approaches have recently suggested that speakers draw on more complex ideascapes when shaping their thoughts (discussed in Kimmel 2009b), a point that also forcefully emerges from a comparison of metaphors to the more extended text units, i.e. whole arguments, which they are embedded in (Kimmel 2009a). Parts of my analysis, notably force-dynamic patterns, dovetail with the assumption of such more encompassing generative patterns. We need not necessarily regard conceptual metaphors as the only (or even as the preferred) cognitive structures that determine how metaphors get deployed in discourse. At the same time, metaphor analysis remains a well tested method and is eminently suitable for a bottom-up reconstruction of these complexities.
Whatever future studies may find out about this issue, the present paper should be read as a plea to consider motivated similarities across conceptual metaphors in a systematic way and based on thorough qualitative groundwork. I close with the hope that the categories of high-level coherence suggested here will provide other researchers with some useful guidelines for scanning and analyzing their data.
For constructive feedback to a previous version of this paper my thanks goes to Katrin Mutz and Ronald Kemsies.
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