Christian Burgers is a Full Professor of Communication and Organisations in the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) at the University of Amsterdam and a Full Professor by special appointment in Strategic Communication (Logeion Chair) at the same university. His research focuses on the role of language in strategic communication, with a particular focus on figurative language such as metaphor, hyperbole and irony. He studies the use and effects of metaphor, hyperbole and irony across domains of discourse (e.g., political communication, health communication, persuasive communication, interpersonal communication). Between 2014-2018, he worked on the project “Figurative Framing” (2014-2018), for which he received a VENI grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Currently, he works on his VIDI project „Contemporary Political Satire” (2018-2024). He is the main editor of the book series Metaphor in Language, Cognition and Communication (MiLCC), published by John Benjamins.
Taking strength from the source and breaking barriers
In many situations, figurative devices (e.g., metaphor, hyperbole, irony) can serve as frames by presenting a certain perspective on a particular issue. In this talk, I will combine insights from metaphor studies with theories and approaches from communication science. I will give an overview of recent research from my group on the use and effects of such figurative frames across discourse domains and in special settings (e.g., satirical news). These studies reveal that figurative frames may have differential effects: some figuative frames can be highly impactful, others may fizzle out, and a third group of frames may even backfire and have an opposite effect to its sender’s intention. This indicates heterogeneity between frames and effects. Thus, rather than asking whether figurative frames are effective, I propose that we should focus on the question which figurative frames are effective for whom under which conditions and when. By presenting such boundary conditions, we can further specify the social impact of figurative frames.
© 2022, 15th Researching and Applying Metaphor Conference