18 September – Giulia Frezza

‘I cannot find myself in some statements’. Social awareness of metaphor in dementia discourse. A survey research collecting scientists’ and journalists’ views

I will present a cross-national survey on ‘metaphor social awareness’ in the field of dementia discourse. Two contrasting Metaphorical Narratives (MNs), or metaphorical scenarios (Musolff 2016), are highlighted in dementia discourse (Peel 2014; Vernooij & Jeong 2016; Hillman & Latimer 2017). The ‘disaster scenario’ is the traditional biomedical MN by which dementia is a progressive terminal ‘decline’ pervaded by a ‘language of loss’. ‘Living well with dementia’ is the antithetic MN emphasizing brain plasticity, health and lifestyle factors associated with dementia prevention to ‘fight dementia back’.

Starting from a previous corpus linguistics analysis of the news media that revealed a patterned difference between the two dementia MNs of decline and plasticity (Frezza 2018), we did a survey with 110 Italian and Dutch scientists and journalists to grasp their ‘social awareness of metaphor’ in dementia discourse. The survey revealed a socio-cultural patterned difference towards the two MNs and a more nuanced picture of the two MNs as to the same patterns found in the corpus research.