Chapter 9. Reframing the American Dream

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Lakoff (2002) maintains that US political divisions are shaped by competing interpretations of the Nation as family conceptual metaphor, which create fundamentally different moral models for conservative and liberal politicians to articulate their values and worldviews. Such differences are realized through various underlying and surface linguistic means. Based on the 2008 presidential election debates between Barack Obama and John McCain, the work provides empirical evidence for the existence of two different morality models. From a theoretical perspective, the work argues that the family-based models are further consolidated through the strategic use of personal reference and pronouns. Moreover, it considers the importance of various recontextualization strategies used to frame the competing worldviews. Finally, the work posits that it is precisely the hybrid nature of the genre of the debate that favors the emergence of the two models, offering an innovative approach not only to conceptual metaphor theory but also to the study of the genre of political debates.


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