Heinrich Grebe

The Revitalization of the “Empty Shell”

The Metaphorical Co-Construction of Dementia in Potential-Oriented Contexts

Shortlink: https://www.waxmann.com/artikelART101763

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The paper presents an analysis of dementia metaphors in German press reports, self-help and experience-based literature as well as nonfiction books. The metaphors in question date back to a historically relatively young discursive context, which can be characterized “potential-oriented”. In this context, the treated metaphors have a central interpretation and mediation function: they identify specific skills of people with dementia, they highlight approaches of effective dementia help and they show qualities of living with dementia. By way of contrast, some deficit-oriented dementia metaphors are included in the analysis. This comparison reveals the structural characteristics of a metaphorical discursive reevaluation process of the phenomenon dementia. The metaphorical structures in question are recorded by using the differentiation between structural metaphors, metaphors of orientation and ontological metaphors developed by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. The analysis of metaphors is preceded by an overview of biomedical as well as social and cultural scientific perspectives on dementia.

dementia, Alzheimer’s, metaphors, discourse, power/knowledge