Addressing Pragmatic Contexts, Multiple Modalities, and Cultural Archives in Metaphor Analysis: The Example of Organ Donation
In this article I address the essence of the cognitive linguistics definition of metaphor: the transfer of meaning from a source domain to a target domain. In particular, the question of identifying, discussing, and methodologically expanding the understanding of metaphorical source domains becomes virulent, which allows for further differentiation of the potential of metaphor analysis as a method of qualitative social research. For this purpose, I present three empirical cases from the field of organ donation, which do not allow for a straightforward answer to the question of the respective source domain on the word-semantic level and therefore allow for a more in-depth methodological discussion. In the analysis of the three cases, I show how the identification of the source domain can be systematically translated into questions about the pragmatic contexts, the modality of the respective representation, and the cultural archives from which conceptions of organ donation are drawn. Through such an exploration, seemingly metaphorically unsuspicious elements of communication about organ donation can be identified as metaphors after all. On this basis, we not only gain insight into the multi-layered metaphorics of organ donation, but the potential of the methodological toolkit of metaphor analysis as a multimodal and contextualizing method also becomes apparent.
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