Skrynnikova I.V., Astafurova T.N. Figurative Framing Around Pandemic Discourse: From Metaphorical Wars on Coronavirus to Wars on Anti-Vaxxers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2022.2.11

Inna V. Skrynnikova

Candidate of Sciences (Philology), Associate Professor, Department of Foreign Language Communication and Linguodidactics, Volgograd State University

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russia

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2390-7866

Tatiana N. Astafurova

Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor, Department of Foreign Language Communication and Linguodidactics, Volgograd State University

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russia

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Professor, Department of Linguistics and Intercultural Communication, Volgograd State Technical University

Prosp. Lenina, 28, 400005 Volgograd, Russia

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1299-8109


Abstract. The current paper deals with metaphorical framing of the COVID-19 pandemic and public response to it in the public and media discourse. Being one of the most dramatic global challenges of the third Millennium, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred transformation in social order, economic/business relationships and dramatic growth in social anxiety and tensions, mistrust and discriminatory measures. It has inevitably found its reflection in language and related discursive practices, which rely heavily on discourse metaphors. When being systematically employed, they affect people's views of events, situations and decisions they subsequently make. The present paper focuses primarily on the COVID-induced discourse changes that create new metaphorical framings and re-shape the familiar ones. The repertoire of elicited discourse metaphors framing the coronavirus discourse communicates the changing combating strategies referred to by the authors as globalist, nationalist and discriminatory. By drawing on specially compiled subcorpus of public and media texts, the paper reveals the conceptual and inferential structure of the concept of the COVID-19 pandemic and discusses the possible implications of activating various pandemic-related frames. The study stresses that the discursive construction of the coronavirus pandemic mirrors the dynamic nature of the pandemic itself as well as the measures to combat the insidious virus taken by national governments, the spread of misinformation and fake news as well as the split in the society and discrimination of certain groups (vaccine deniers/anti-vaxxers). Acknowledging the prevalence of military metaphors in the pandemic-related discourse, the authors claim that metaphorical framing serves as a crucial conceptual tool to communicate the gradual transition from war on COVID-19 to war of vaccines and ultimately to war on out-groups (vaccine deniers, anti-vaxxers).

Key words: metaphor, metaphorical framing, public discourse, media discourse, globalist strategy, nationalist strategy, discriminatory strategy.

Citation. Skrynnikova I.V., Astafurova T.N. Figurative Framing Around Pandemic Discourse: From Metaphorical Wars on Coronavirus to Wars on Anti-Vaxxers. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2. Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2022, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 136-148. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2022.2.11

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