Conceptualizing the economy as a living organism: vivification in Arab economic discourse

Mikolaj Domaradzki 1
  • 1 Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland
Mikolaj Domaradzki
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  • Mikolaj Domaradzki graduated from the Faculty of Modern Languages at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland), where he also obtained his PhD in philosophy and is currently employed as an associate professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences. At present his linguistic research is concerned with metaphors in the Arabic language, on which he has published several articles, among others, in Cognitive Linguistics and Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict.
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The present paper is a corpus-based inquiry into the importance of vivification for producing a systematic and persuasive Arab economic discourse. Thus, this article examines how and why the economy is metaphorically conceptualized in modern Arabic as a Living Organism that can be said to ‘grow’, ‘revive’, etc. Having analyzed the frequency with which the various instantiations of this generic metaphor appear in Arab economic discourse, the paper goes on to discuss the value judgments that they convey. The analogy between a living organism and an economy is shown to induce very specific evaluations of such conditions as ‘growing’ or ‘being revived’. Hence, vivification is demonstrated to play a vital role in providing Arab economic discourse with textual cohesion. Although this article argues for the universal bodily grounding of the Economy Is A Living Organism metaphor, it also shows this experiential basis to be subject to cultural interpretation. The analyses carried out here suggest that projecting such physical concepts as those of ‘growth’ or ‘revival’ onto the social domain of economics entails that they are interpreted in accordance with the particular social interests of a given community.

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Text & Talk (founded as TEXT in 1981) is an internationally recognized forum for interdisciplinary research in language, discourse, and communication studies, focusing, among other things, on the situational and historical nature of text/talk production; the cognitive and sociocultural processes of language practice/action; and participant-based structures of meaning negotiation and multimodal alignment.