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Doctor of Philosophy, Researcher in English, Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Catania, Italy
George Lakoff (1993) described metaphor as “a major and indispensable part of our ordinary conventional way of conceptualizing the world.” In the context of a critical approach to discourse studies, however, such conceptualizing is not a neutral phenomenon. Politicians and advertisers, among others, understand the potential of metaphor as a persuasive rhetorical figure. In the topical public debate on the environment, where environmental discourse has achieved a certain currency thanks to pressure groups such as Greenpeace, metaphors have a key role to play in influencing attitudes.
This study explores the construction of environmental discourse in a recent white paper from the British government, with an emphasis on the persuasive role of metaphor. It suggests that the notion of ‘value’ as a key metaphor can be understood in terms of the appeal it makes to potential readers in the corporate sphere.
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