Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2211-4742
  • E-ISSN: 2211-4750
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This paper proposes to investigate the public responses to situationally-triggered metaphors as these have been observed in political argumentation. Situationally-triggered metaphors occur when a nonmetaphorical connection is made between the metaphor and an aspect of the relevant situational context. The question addressed in this research is: how are such metaphors perceived by the public when these form part of the political argumentation? To answer this question, the study focuses on a particular instance of political situationally-triggered metaphor i.e., Boris Johnson’s “James Bond” metaphor produced during COP26. The paper draws on Critical Metaphor Analysis and Deliberate Metaphor Theory to analyse the public comments and reactions posted on the social media platform Twitter in response to the politician’s arguments. The analysis reveals that most of the public responses exploit the “James Bond” metaphor to dispute Johnson’s self-identification to the fictional character and provide meta-arguments that revolve around the politician’s misuse of metaphors. In contrast, responses that exploit the metaphor to convey political arguments or endorsement are much more limited. It is thus argued that situationally-triggered metaphors not only represent a political rhetorical device, but they are also effective political tools to shift public attention towards discursive patterns instead of arguments presented in discourse.


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