Rescuing a collapsing euro : Metaphoricity in the verbal and visual discourse of The Economist

Leonzini, Luisella and Semino, Elena and Koller, Veronika (2020) Rescuing a collapsing euro : Metaphoricity in the verbal and visual discourse of The Economist. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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The present thesis investigates the verbal and visual metaphors that are used by The Economist to discuss the topic of the economic crisis which hit the single currency and the Eurozone. In particular, I am concerned with the way in which the incongruous visual and verbal realisations interact and contribute to shaping a multimodal scenario. My study is broadly based on the discourse dynamic framework which investigates metaphor occurrence and development in the flow of discourse and social interaction. Considering that metaphor communicates ideas and conveys feelings, I place my analysis within the context of studies that investigate metaphor as a means of interaction. I examine metaphor as a device that, while occurring and developing in discourse, reveals and shapes people's views, attitudes and perceptions of reality. Having selected 10 articles that best illustrate the troubles that the debt crisis has brought to the euro area, I develop a qualitative investigation aimed at identifying metaphors which illustrate, explain and discuss complex economic issues, such as economic instability and the risk of an impending economic default. Based on the analysis of my data, I argue that verbal and visual metaphors debating the crisis emerge into two intersemiotically related systematic scenarios that highlight the urgency of intervention. A first optimistic scenario hints at scheduling feasible measures to save the euro and prompts plans of economic development in terms of a rescue. A second negative and pessimistic outlook criticises the inadequate projects that the Eurozone leaders have agreed on and awaits the failure of the euro in terms of a a tragic collapse. My research contributes to the study of metaphor in economic-media discourse and aims at achieving a deeper understanding of how verbal and visual interconnectedness in multimodal discourse is better shaped at attracting the reading public. Moreover, relying on the principles of clarity and simplicity that The Economist favours so much, metaphoricity and multimodality contribute to developing social interaction, a better understanding and hopefully a wider sharing.

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Thesis (PhD)
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06 Aug 2020 09:35
Last Modified:
26 Nov 2023 00:34