Washing the Brain - Metaphor and Hidden Ideology (Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture)

Book Washing the Brain - Metaphor and Hidden Ideology (Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture)

Book details

- By:
- Language: English
- Format: PDF - Djvu
- Pages:431
- Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing Company (July 2, 2008)
- Bestsellers rank: 2
- Category: Reference
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Contemporary metaphor theory has recently begun to address the relation between metaphor, culture and ideology. In this wide-ranging book, Andrew Goatly, using lexical data from his database Metalude, investigates how conceptual metaphor themes construct our thinking and social behaviour in fields as diverse as architecture, engineering, education, genetics, ecology, economics, politics, industrial time-management, medicine, immigration, race, and sex. He argues that metaphor themes are created not only through the universal body but also through cultural experience, so that an apparently universal metaphor such as event-structure as realized in English grammar is, in fact, culturally relative, compared with e.g. the construal of 'cause and effect' in the Algonquin language Blackfoot. Moreover, event-structure as a model is both scientifically reactionary and, as the basis for technological mega-projects, has proved environmentally harmful. Furthermore, the ideologies of early capitalism created or exploited a selection of metaphor themes historically traceable through Hobbes, Hume, Smith, Malthus and Darwin. These metaphorical concepts support neo-Darwinian and neo-conservative ideologies apparent at the beginning of the 21st century, ideologies underpinning our social and environmental crises. The conclusion therefore recommends skepticism of metaphor’s reductionist tendencies.

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  • By James Underhill on May 7, 2013

    Goatly's 'Washing the Brain' takes readers on a tour through the everyday ideologically-loaded language that has come to seem natural. It delves deeply into the historical traditions that have generated the metaphors that frame discourse. But unlike much contemporary metaphor research, Goatly does not content himself with trying to understand how metaphors work in langage, but also asks how different languages frame concepts. This forces us to consider our own language system as a worldview. But Goatly is anything but deterministic. Indeed, his work demonstrates that metaphoric thinking is creative, and that our best chance in avoiding ugly and unhealthy ways of thinking about the world, politics, the environment and others, is by creatively countering the metaphors we are fed daily by the Media and by everyone who uncritically adopts pervasive metaphoric modes of thought.


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