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Cancer as a metaphor

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Cancer as a metaphor. / Potts, Amanda; Semino, Elena.

In: Metaphor and Symbol, Vol. 34, No. 2, 01.06.2019, p. 81-95.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Harvard

Potts, A & Semino, E 2019, 'Cancer as a metaphor', Metaphor and Symbol, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 81-95. https://doi.org/10.1080/10926488.2019.1611723

APA

Potts, A., & Semino, E. (2019). Cancer as a metaphor. Metaphor and Symbol, 34(2), 81-95. https://doi.org/10.1080/10926488.2019.1611723

Vancouver

Potts A, Semino E. Cancer as a metaphor. Metaphor and Symbol. 2019 Jun 1;34(2):81-95. https://doi.org/10.1080/10926488.2019.1611723

Author

Potts, Amanda ; Semino, Elena. / Cancer as a metaphor. In: Metaphor and Symbol. 2019 ; Vol. 34, No. 2. pp. 81-95.

Bibtex

@article{0711637c31904a60932b1bff53f282f0,
title = "Cancer as a metaphor",
abstract = "Since the publication of Susan Sontag{\textquoteright}s highly influential  Illness as Metaphor in 1978,  many studies have provided follow-up analyses on her critique of metaphors for cancer, but none have investigated her claims about the uses and implications of cancer  as a metaphor (e.g., the cancer of corruption), and her prediction that medical advances would make this metaphor obsolete. In this article, we present the first systematic study of cancer as a metaphor in contemporary English. We show the forms, frequencies, and functions of 925 metaphorical uses of cancer-related vocabulary in two large English language corpora, and discuss their implications for: (a) the framing of the phenomena that are most frequently described as cancers and of potential courses of action to be taken in relation to these phenomena; (b) perceptions of cancer itself; and (c) theoretical accounts of what makes a metaphor successful, in terms of its effectiveness and its applicability to a wide range of topics. In this way, we provide detailed evidence, and additional nuance, for Sontag{\textquoteright}s critique of cancer as a metaphor and put forward an explanation for the current persistence of this metaphor, despite its controversial status.",
keywords = "metaphor, cancer, Susan Sontag, corpora",
author = "Amanda Potts and Elena Semino",
year = "2019",
month = jun,
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/10926488.2019.1611723",
language = "English",
volume = "34",
pages = "81--95",
journal = "Metaphor and Symbol",
issn = "1092-6488",
publisher = "Psychology Press Ltd",
number = "2",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Cancer as a metaphor

AU - Potts, Amanda

AU - Semino, Elena

PY - 2019/6/1

Y1 - 2019/6/1

N2 - Since the publication of Susan Sontag’s highly influential  Illness as Metaphor in 1978,  many studies have provided follow-up analyses on her critique of metaphors for cancer, but none have investigated her claims about the uses and implications of cancer  as a metaphor (e.g., the cancer of corruption), and her prediction that medical advances would make this metaphor obsolete. In this article, we present the first systematic study of cancer as a metaphor in contemporary English. We show the forms, frequencies, and functions of 925 metaphorical uses of cancer-related vocabulary in two large English language corpora, and discuss their implications for: (a) the framing of the phenomena that are most frequently described as cancers and of potential courses of action to be taken in relation to these phenomena; (b) perceptions of cancer itself; and (c) theoretical accounts of what makes a metaphor successful, in terms of its effectiveness and its applicability to a wide range of topics. In this way, we provide detailed evidence, and additional nuance, for Sontag’s critique of cancer as a metaphor and put forward an explanation for the current persistence of this metaphor, despite its controversial status.

AB - Since the publication of Susan Sontag’s highly influential  Illness as Metaphor in 1978,  many studies have provided follow-up analyses on her critique of metaphors for cancer, but none have investigated her claims about the uses and implications of cancer  as a metaphor (e.g., the cancer of corruption), and her prediction that medical advances would make this metaphor obsolete. In this article, we present the first systematic study of cancer as a metaphor in contemporary English. We show the forms, frequencies, and functions of 925 metaphorical uses of cancer-related vocabulary in two large English language corpora, and discuss their implications for: (a) the framing of the phenomena that are most frequently described as cancers and of potential courses of action to be taken in relation to these phenomena; (b) perceptions of cancer itself; and (c) theoretical accounts of what makes a metaphor successful, in terms of its effectiveness and its applicability to a wide range of topics. In this way, we provide detailed evidence, and additional nuance, for Sontag’s critique of cancer as a metaphor and put forward an explanation for the current persistence of this metaphor, despite its controversial status.

KW - metaphor

KW - cancer

KW - Susan Sontag

KW - corpora

U2 - 10.1080/10926488.2019.1611723

DO - 10.1080/10926488.2019.1611723

M3 - Journal article

VL - 34

SP - 81

EP - 95

JO - Metaphor and Symbol

JF - Metaphor and Symbol

SN - 1092-6488

IS - 2

ER -