Analysing Conceptual Metaphors in Political Language

Kathleen Ahrens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The past two decades have seen an increase in the number of women serving in high-level political positions in countries throughout the world. Yet, to date, there has been no contrastive examination of the metaphorical language men and women use in the political arena. This is particularly relevant in light of research that argues that men and women use conversation rituals differently in the workplace: women to engage, men to win (Tannen 1994/2001; Holmes and Stubbe 2003), and that business media discourse involves war metaphors, which are regarded as a ‘masculinizing force on both discourse as well as on related social practices’ (Koller 2004: 172). If men and women are using language differently in the workplace, and the language of business has inherently masculine metaphors, what type of conceptual metaphors do women use when they participate in political office? Do they adopt the conceptual metaphors used by the majority (i.e. the men) as seems to happen in much of business discourse, or do they highlight their differences with their male colleagues by using conceptual metaphors that reflect their own perspectives on life and on the political situations as they see it? Or, as Cameron (2007) and Koller and Semino (this volume) suggest, do men and women exhibit certain patterns of linguistic behaviour which may make them appear as either masculine or feminine?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolitics, Gender and Conceptual Metaphors
EditorsKathleen Ahrens
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780230245235
ISBN (Print)9780230203457, 9781349301270
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2009

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Conceptual Metaphor
  • Spatial Metaphor
  • Business Discourse
  • Metaphor Analysis
  • Spanish Policy


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