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From conflict to conciliation: Disarming metaphors Lynne Cameron The Open University, UK.

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Presentation on theme: "From conflict to conciliation: Disarming metaphors Lynne Cameron The Open University, UK."— Presentation transcript:

1 From conflict to conciliation: Disarming metaphors Lynne Cameron The Open University, UK

2

3 Language and conflict Language used in the service of opposing groups In processes of de-humanising the Other e.g. framing the Other metaphorically as mass: a flood animal: rats object: the axis of evil

4 Post-conflict conciliation Increasing understanding between groups and individuals separated by conflict. Needs to work on both social and individual levels. Processes include: the re-negotiation of identities the re-humanization of self and Other the development of empathy between former enemies through dialogue

5 The study Pat Magee: a former IRA member who planted a bomb that injured and killed members of the Conservative party in Jo Berry: the daughter of a Conservative minister who was killed in the bombing. Conversations between

6 The Grand Hotel, Brighton, 1984 Pat Magee & Jo Berry, 2000

7 Data A series of reconciliation meetings between Jo Berry and Pat Magee. 2 nd meeting – 50 minutes – late th meeting – 110 minutes – early 2001 Radio interview – 20 minutes – Easter 2003 Face-to-face interview with Jo Berry – 2005

8 Dialogue as complex dynamic system Interacting levels of social organisation individual – social groupings Interacting timescales conversation – relationship Properties Co-adaptation Self-organisation Emergent stabilities

9 Co-adaptation in complex systems interactions between elements gradually adapt the behaviour of the system changes the behaviour of the system stabilises to a state or attractor that ‘suits’ all elements some perturbation is needed to shift the system to a new state

10 State space of a system: the landscape of possibilities from Spivey 2007, p.18

11 Metaphors as emergent markers of social group affiliation The Movement The Struggle Home Rule porridge, screws

12 Metaphors as emergent attractors in dialogue CONCILIATION as BUILDING A BRIDGE that is why it is so important to build this bridge with you cfJuliet is the sun..

13 Metaphor dynamics at the micro-level After its first use in talk, a metaphor Vehicle can be developed: with same Topic repetition relexicalisation explication contrast redeployed: with different Topic dropped

14 building bridges Pat... (1.0) in the er -- the journey,...(1.0) coming... to a bridge,/... you [know]. Jo[hmh] Pat... with two ends, Patall those bridges are there to be built

15 From bridges to barriers Patthere's an inverse, to that er,...(1.0) you know, er,...(2.0) figure of speech you know, bridges.... bridges can be built.... and that is if you,.. actively -- er,.. create, er,.. distances.... barriers.... or what are they? they are exclusions

16 The removal of barriers allows connection Jo victims of all sides have been meeting,.. and -- er,... (1.0) that is just about,... er,.. br- breaking down barriers, sharing stories, and -- Pathmh Jo... and through.. experiencing each other's stories, Pathmh Jo... there's a real feeling of,... closeness and humanity of everyone,

17 ...(1.0) and er,.. a thing I believe absolutely fundamentally, is that er,...(1.0) if you exclude anybody's voice,...(1.0) you know,... you're se- -- you're sowing the seed for later violence. Jo...(1.0) hmh Pat.. and [er] -- Jo[I] would agree. Pat...(1.0) the way to counter that,...(1.0) is to build bridges. Jo.. hmh Pat...(1.0) the way to ensure it doesn't happen,

18 Metaphor dynamics in the conversations systematic metaphors emerge across discourse events: UNDERSTANDING THE OTHER REQUIRES CONNECTION building bridges breaking down barriers being open

19 Appropriation taking something that belongs to others and making it one’s own Wertsch, 1998, p.53

20 The moment of appropriation 1132Pat... be confronted, with your pain that's a consequence that er, (3.0) you know, 1137I suppose I deserve (2.0) you know, (1.0) and er, (2.0) seems very how do you put it, 1143er, (2.0) maybe that's part of healing too, my healing.

21 Prior to this moment of appropriation, the word does not exist in a neutral and impersonal language … but rather it exists in people’s mouths, in other people’s contexts, serving other people’s intentions: it is from there that one must take the word, and make it one’s own. Bakhtin 1981, pp

22 Earlier in the discourse event Jo Berry 591the heat heals the pain 609I will speak out, 610for the healing for the world, 660I feel that my heart heals, 661as Ireland heals.

23 Earlier in the discourse event Patrick Magee that somebody else can move on in their own, you know, healing process.

24 The appropriation of metaphor 1132Pat... be confronted, with your pain that's a consequence that er, (3.0) you know, 1137I suppose I deserve (2.0) you know, (1.0) and er, (2.0) seems very how do you put it, 1143er, (2.0) maybe that's part of healing too, my healing.

25 appropriation … always involves resistance of some sort (Wertsch 1998, p.54)

26 my healing. 1146Joyour healing [yeah]. 1148Pat[yeah] (1.0) you know, 1150er, (2.0) it's er, 1153something I have to go through. 1154Jo... hmh 1155Pat... if I'm going to sort of er, (1.0) really retain my humanity.

27 Other metaphor appropriations pain Jo: to deal with the anger and the pain Pat: you’re in denial about some of the pain of your own life struggle Pat: the struggle was necessary Jo: I am seeing you as someone who’s had a lot of struggle … I am feeling part of that struggle

28 carry Pat: you have to carry that with you Jo: I carry that wound contribution Pat: a denial of rights…what contribution can I make? Jo: I’m doing this for peace…my little contribution to the bigger picture

29 Appropriation in reconciliation Appropriation: affords alignment through attempted use of the Other’s metaphor if permitted, allows the Other to use one’s owned metaphor can shift the power of the metaphor

30 Appropriation of metaphor is a small act of reconciliation that contributes to the longer process. Through appropriation and negotiation, metaphors that mark and maintain social group affiliation can be disarmed.

31 References Cameron, L. (2007) Patterns of metaphor use in reconciliation talk. Discourse and Society, 18 (2), Gibbs, R. and L. Cameron (2008) The social cognitive dynamics of metaphor performance. Journal of Cognitive Systems Research, 9 (1-2), Larsen-Freeman, D. & L. Cameron (2008) Complex systems and applied linguistics. Oxford University Press.


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