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Politics is football: metaphor in the discourse of Silvio Berlusconi in Italy.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date1996
JournalDiscourse and Society
Journal number2
Volume7
Number of pages27
Pages243-269
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In this paper we examine the use of a set of recurring metaphors in the discourse of Silvio Berlusconi, the media tycoon who became Italy's Prime Minister in 1994. We focus specifically on metaphors drawn from the source domains of football, war and the Bible. Drawing on the cognitive theory of metaphor proposed in Lakoff and Johnson (1980), we consider the possible effects that each metaphorical connection may have on Berlusconi's audience in the specific political and cultural context within which he operates. We argue that Berlusconi adopts different metaphors in an attempt to alter the way in which Italians relate to politics, to create a positive public image for himself and his new political party and to attract particular sections of the electorate. We conclude that metaphor is an essential part of a new type of populist and heterogeneous political discourse that Berlusconi has introduced in Italian politics.