Metaphors we (De)Legitimize by: Patterns of Metaphor Use in The Economist

Rahman Sahragard, Alireza Rasti


The present research is a follow-up to another study (Rasti & Sahragard, 2012) with an exclusive focus on political metaphor in general and specifically its (de)legitimatory role in the British paper The Economist. The Western paper takes an explicit sanctions-supportive stance on Iran’s nuclear issue. With an eye to spotting instances of political metaphor in the said paper, the researchers, in the process of analyzing the data, which included 30 argumentative and expository articles taken from the British paper within two time frames – the first spanning 2005-2006 and the second encompassing data from 2012 and the beginning of 2013, came up with a superordinate metaphorical pattern i.e., IRAN AS A HUMAN and its concomitant submetaphors i.e., IRAN AS A RACER/PLAYER, IRAN AS A BUSINESSMAN, IRAN AS A SUFFERER, and IRAN AS A SUSPECT/CULPRIT  (for the first phase) and IRAN AS A WRONGDOER, IRAN AS A PATIENT and IRAN AS AN UNWANTED GUEST/A TRESPASSOR (as far as the second phase was concerned). The study concludes with the insight that the Western newspaper, among other things, stylistically and rhetorically employs and manipulates the metaphorical scenarios to justify and highlight the force and effectiveness of the West-backed sanctions against Iran and to render the country’s nuclear plans as illicit and unwarranted.



Conceptual Metaphor Theory; (De)legitimation; The Economist;, Iran's nuclear program; Sanctions.

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