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Going negative by metaphors: The Donbass conflict in the Russian and the Ukrainian press

Ganna Diedkova, Christ'l De Landtsheer

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Previous research has established the importance of metaphors as conceptual devices (Semino, 2008; Zinken & Musolff, 2009). This article builds upon existing research and extends the insight into how media use metaphors in their coverage of military conflicts. The media coverage of the ongoing Eastern Ukrainian military conflict (Donbass conflict) presents a suitable case for this investigation. The strength of this study lies in the nature of the data that have been collected, namely articles that appeared in a Russian and a Ukrainian news outlet (September 2014 until January 2015) covering the same stories (same date, same event). Thereby, we investigate metaphor as a conceptual device and an element of framing that contributes to the distinct representation of the conflict in the selected outlets from the two countries. This research follows a qualitative research design, relying on Critical Metaphor Analysis (Charteris-Black, 2004), and Metaphor Power Taxonomy (De Landtsheer, 2015; Beer & De Landtsheer, 2004). We conclude that the selected Russian and Ukrainian media used metaphors for enemy construction, in particular the hostile imagery with “Colony” (Russian outlet) and “Fear” (Ukrainian outlet) as major source domains.

Keywords: discourse analysis, metaphor, framing, news media, Russia, Ukraine, Donbass, conflict


Bibliography: Diedkova, Ganna/De Landtsheer, Christ'l: Going negative by metaphors: The Donbass conflict in the Russian and the Ukrainian press, PCS – Politics, Culture and Socialization, 1+2-2018, pp. 7-34.