Volume 20, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811


This study combines quantitative semi-automated corpus methods with manual qualitative analysis to investigate the use of Violence metaphors for cancer and end of life in a 1,500,000-word corpus of data from three stakeholder groups in healthcare: patients, family carers and healthcare professionals. Violence metaphors in general, especially military metaphors, are conventionally used to talk about illness, particularly cancer. However, they have also been criticized for their potentially negative implications. The use of innovative methodology enables us to undertake a more rigorous and systematic investigation of Violence metaphors than has previously been possible. Our findings show that patients, carers and professionals use a much wider set of Violence-related metaphors than noted in previous studies, and that metaphor use varies between interview and online forum genres and amongst different stakeholder groups. Our study has implications for the computer-assisted study of metaphor, metaphor theory and analysis more generally, and communication in healthcare settings.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): cancer; end of life; health communication; metaphor; semantic tagging
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