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Conference Information

Full Title: 5th Interdisciplinary Workshop on Corpus-Based Approaches to Figurative Language

Location: Lancaster, United Kingdom
Start Date: 22-Jul-2013 - 22-Jul-2013
Contact: Gill Philip
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: Metaphor and Austerity:

The West is settling into a new age of austerity: the ‘NICE’ (‘non-inflationary consistent expansion’, Kitson et al. 2011) economy has turned ‘VILE’ (‘volatile inflation, little expansion’, ibid.), and the economic and social fall-out is now becoming visible. Unemployment, redundancy, inflation, recession, insecurity, and poverty all loom, causing governments, businesses and individuals to re-evaluate their priorities.

A changing world changes attitudes, and the earliest manifestations of such change can often be found in figurative language. Political rhetoric attempts to sweeten the bitter pill that nations have no choice but to swallow; all are invited to share the pain, make sacrifices for the common good, and weather the storm. But more sinister undertones can also be perceived. In times of social and financial dire straits, scapegoats are sought and mercilessly pursued in the press. The elderly, unemployed, and disabled are under fire for ‘sponging off the state’; and as jobs become scarcer and the tax bill rises, migrant populations and asylum seekers are viewed with increasing suspicion and resentment. Calls for a ‘big society’ fall on deaf ears. Society, it seems, is shrinking as self-preservation takes hold.


M. Kitson, R. Martin, P. Tyler. 2011. The geographies of austerity. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 4. 289-302.
Linguistic Subfield: Text/Corpus Linguistics
LL Issue: 24.603

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