Payback and punishment

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This paper presents an analysis of metaphors for punishment in policy discoursein Scotland, which has embarked on an ambitious programme of penal reform.We analysed a corpus consisting of the four key policy documents of the penalreform programme. Our objectives were firstly, to identify the most frequentlyused lexical metaphors and metonyms in the corpus, and then to analyse theentailments that these metaphors have, and how they frame the topics of thetexts. We found widespread use of metaphors from the domain of management,providing support for the thesis that the discourse of management framespublic services in the UK. We then specifically investigated the use of paybackbecause of its salience in current penal philosophy, with the objective of findingout how frequently it is used, and whether the theme of reparation frames thetexts more widely. Our findings suggest that as a metaphor from the sourcedomain of reparation, it appears to be a ‘one-shot’ metaphor. However, in termsof semantic groupings, it could perhaps be viewed as a metaphor of businessand management.


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