Metaphorical framing in the Brazilian online newspaper Folha de São Paulo: how metaphors can be used to oppress

Vortragende(r) Luciane Corrêa Ferreira
Institution(en) ZAS-DAAD visiting fellow; Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Datum 30.11.2021
Uhrzeit 14:00 Uhr
Ort Online

The use of dehumanizing metaphorical language against refugees and immigrants is regarded here as a kind of hate speech (Morais; Ferreira, 2021). Previous studies examined the role of tropes in metaphorical framing (Camp, 2020) and how tropes, for instance slurs, can be used to oppress (Popa-Wyatt, 2020). The goal of this study is to examine how the topics refuge and immigration motivate utterances in a major Brazilian online newspaper through metaphorical framing, and how speakers perceive those framing effects. Some questions we intend to address are: which metaphorical framings about refuge and immigration were the most common in the Brazilian online newspaper Folha de São Paulo (FSP) in 2019? How do speakers relate those metaphorical utterances to its metaphorical framings or scenarios? Do they perceive those metaphorical framings as dehumanizing language? This is a quali-quantitative study, whose data were collected in the Brazilian online media and analyzed with support of corpus linguistics methodology using AntConc (Anthony, 2020). Firstly, we performed a search with the topics ‘refug*’and ‘imigr*’ in the online newspaper FSP. Then, we examined the news data applying metaphorical framing analysis (Semino, 2018) and the analysis of metaphorical scenarios (Musolff, 2006), where we aimed at relating those metaphorical framings to its emergence in discourse. The use of mixed methodology, that is corpus linguistics methodology (quantitative) and metaphorical framing analysis (qualitative) allowed us to identify that both refugees (T=79 metaphors) and immigrants (T=419 results) are mostly framed metaphorically as a threat, as goods, as natural phenomena, and as an undesired liquid. We also present results of a recent pilot study (n=40), where we asked Brazilian native speakers to relate the metaphorical utterances examined to its motivating metaphorical vehicle or scenario. We have also asked participants to score on a Likert scale if they perceive those metaphorical utterances as humanizing or dehumanizing language. Participants scores’ on the Likert scale study revealed that they judged the most common expressions found in the study on metaphorical framing as dehumanizing metaphorical utterances. We argue here that the use of mainly dehumanizing metaphorical framing of immigrants and refugees in the Brazilian online news reports constitutes another example of how metaphorical framing can be used to oppress with various implications, such as social implications linked to online harm and discrimination.


  • Anthony, L. (2020) AntConc (Version 3.5.9) [Computer Software]. Tokyo, Japan: Waseda University.
  • Camp, E. 2021. Framing and Looping: Solidarity and Resistance. Talk HaLO||Theme 4: Oppressive Practices & Norms: Speech Acts, Conversational Dynamics, ZaS (online). DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.18469.01764
  • Morais, A.; Ferreira, L. 2021. Metaphors of intolerance: a comparative analysis between the speeches and cartoons of Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump on immigration. I. Chiluwa (ed.) Discourse and conflict: analyzing Text and Talk of Conflict, Hate and Peace-bulding. London: Palgrave MacMillan: 85-112.
  • Musolff, A. 2006. Metaphor Scenarios in Public Discourse. Metaphor and Symbol. 21(1) DOI: 10.1207/s15327868ms2101_2
  • Popa-Wyatt, M. 2020. Slurs, Pejoratives, and Hate Speech. In Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy. Ed. Duncan Pritchard. New York: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396577-0403
  • Semino, E. 2018. An Integrated Approach to Metaphor and Framing in Cognition, Discourse, and Practice, with an Application to Metaphors for Cancer. Applied Linguistics: 39/5: 625–645.

Thema: Talk by Luciane Corrêa Ferreira

Uhrzeit: 30.Nov..2021 02:00 PM Amsterdam, Berlin, Rom, Stockholm, Wien

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