Narrative and Metaphor in Domestic and International Politics


I thought these questions from the Claremont Symposium on Applied Social Psychology looked really interesting…

Warring with Words:
Narrative and Metaphor in Domestic and International Politics

Saturday, March 24, 2012
8:45 AM to 4:30 PM; Reception to follow

In recent years, scholars from a range of disciplines have examined the speeches and writings of political leaders around the world to identify the ways in which each employs stories and metaphors to recruit supporters, justify past actions, frame policies for the future, and negotiate with others. In addition, scholars have come to acknowledge that in their own analysis, theory, and commentary they, too, are incorrigible users of narrative and metaphor. This symposium brings together specialists in social psychology, political science, cognitive science, linguistics, literary studies, gender studies, and philosophy to identify the many ways in which narrative and metaphor function in discourse around politics. We shall be asking some of the following questions:

  • Is it true that much communal and international hostility is generated, at least in part, by the fact that opposing groups hold to conflicting religious and historical narratives?
  • Does each culture depend on a distinct cluster of metaphors for viewing the world?
  • To what extent are domestic and international policies shaped by the metaphors employed to frame the problems they are designed to resolve?
  • How effectively are the candidates in the upcoming US elections wielding stories and metaphors as campaigning weapons?
  • How may dysfunctional political narratives and metaphors be critiqued and effectively amended?
  • To what extent do political theorists depend on metaphor and political historians on narrative to conceptualize their fields and articulate their findings?

The annual Claremont Symposium on Applied Social Psychology will bring an international cast of prominent researchers to address these and other important questions. 


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