This article analyses the function of illness-metaphors for the construction of economic and social crises in public discourse. Three periods of crises in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany are contemplated: the oil crisis in 1973/74, the public dispute about Schröder’s so-called Agenda 2010 in 2003 and the financial crisis in 2008/09. It will show that illness-metaphors are used in combination with other metaphors involving other source domains. Thus, conceptual metaphors unfold scenarios, which explain the essence of and the coping with a crisis without requiring specific knowledge about economic relations.
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