Addressing Pragmatic Contexts, Multiple Modalities, and Cultural Archives in Metaphor Analysis: The Example of Organ Donation


  • Larissa Pfaller Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg



systematic metaphor analysis, metaphors, source domains, cultural archives, multimodality, knowledge, methodology, organ donation, transplantation


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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Author Biography

Larissa Pfaller, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Larissa PFALLER ist wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Institut für Soziologie der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. Ihre Schwerpunkte liegen in der Kultur- und Wissenssoziologie sowie in der qualitativ-rekonstruktiven Sozialforschung. Derzeit beschäftigt sie sich mit Theorien der Abjektion und des Imaginären und forscht zu den Themen Organspende, Alter(n) und Freundschaft.



How to Cite

Pfaller, L. (2022). Addressing Pragmatic Contexts, Multiple Modalities, and Cultural Archives in Metaphor Analysis: The Example of Organ Donation. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 23(3).



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