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CADAAD2 2 Musolff 2008 Critical Metaphor Analysis 0

CADAAD2 2 Musolff 2008 Critical Metaphor Analysis 0



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What can Critical Metaphor Analysis Add to the Understanding of Racist Ideology? 
Recent Studies of Hitler’s Anti 
-Semitic Metaphors 
Copyright © 2008
Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines
http://cadaad.org/ejournal Vol 2 (2): 1
10ISSN: 1752-3079
Durham University andreas.musolff@durham.ac.uk 
Over the past decade several studies have been published that investigate the metaphorsemployed in Nazi racist ideology from the combined perspectives of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Cognitive Semantics. The paper reviews these studies, and discussestheir differences to earlier studies that were based on traditional rhetorical definitions of metaphor. Particular attention is paid to comparisons between Hi 
tler’s metaphors and 
recent discriminatory propaganda, as well as to the interpretation of such ideological metaphors as
viruses of the mind 
’, and to the relationship between Hitler’s use of the Great 
Chain of Being and classical versions of this concept. In conclusion, it is argued that cognitively oriented CDA studies of metaphor use can contribute significantly not only to theconceptual reconstruction of metaphoric mappings but also to understanding their discursive history.
1. Nazi Ideology and Metaphor Analysis 
The study of Nazi ideology and discourse, and specifically of its imagery, has been a long-standing feature of Cultural Criticism and of Discourse Analysis.In English-speaking countries this interest started in the wake of the firsttransla
tions of Hitler’s
 Mein Kampf 
and his speeches; it intensified during therun-up and the duration of World War II and found its application in the
 Western Allies’ ‘
programmes and their perception of the Federal
Republic’s ability to face up to
the Nazi past (cf. Steiner 1979; Michael andDoerr 2002; Niven 2002; Deissler 2003). One of the highlights of this early 
criticism was Kenneth Burke’s essay ‘The Rhetoric of Hitler’s ‘Battle’’
, firstpublished on the eve of World War II, in which the author insisted on takinghis
object seriously instead of producing just
a few adverseattitudinizings
(Burke 1984: 61).
Burke’s analysis focused on the Hitler’s
technique of projecting a religious concept, i.e. the devil, onto a
 visible, point-to-
able form of people with a certain kind of ‘blood’’. T
his mapping worked asan
effective weapon of propaganda
, because it suggested the transfer of thereligious implications (i.e. permanent and relentless fight against the devil)onto of the socio-political level and presented its desired outcome - thedestruction of the
as a
for Germany’s national
(1984: 63-68). On the question of whether Hitler used this projection just as a
Musolff Page|
Machiavellian propaganda
or believed in it earnestly, Burke concluded
that the German leader’s ‘
powers of persuasion derive[d] from the fact that he
spontaneously evolved his ‘cure
all’ in response to inner necessities’ (1984:
By insisting on the dual nature of Hitler’s ‘
as a propaganda technique
as a genuine world-view, Burke touched on a fundamental problem of metaphor analysis that has informed much of the criticism levelled by cognitive linguists against traditional analyses of figurative language use, i.e.that the latter did not take the conceptual import of metaphors seriously enough and instead treated them as mere stylistic
(Lakoff 1993:202-3; 1996: 386-7; 2004). As regards political discourse, the cognitive claimof going beyond rhetorical analysis is of special significance. If metaphorsshape the conceptual structure of world-views, their critical analysis canprovide
particular insight into why the rhetoric of political leaders issuccessful
(Charteris-Black 2005: 197). Over the past ten years, severalcognitive-
orientated analyses of Nazi discourse, specifically of Hitler’s use of 
imagery in
 Mein Kampf 
have been published, among them Hawkins (2001),Rash (2005a, 2005b, 2006), Chilton (2005), Musolff (2007) as well asobservations in Charteris-Black (2005) and Goatly (2007)
the list is by nomeans complete. The following discussion is not meant to give a summary overview of these studies but focuses on those insights that transcend earlieranalyses. The aim is to see how the combination of cognitive and criticaldiscourse approaches, i.e. Critical Metaphor Analysis as outlined by Charteris-Black (2004), provides new insights into the function of figurative thoughtand language in Nazi ideology, and in racism more generally.
. Hitler’s Parasit 
e Metapho 
r as a ‘Model’ of 
Discriminatory Ideology 
Several publications use Hitler’s anti
-Semitic imagery as a negative yardstick 
of racist ideology. Hawkins (2001) envisages a ‘cognitive sociolinguistics’ that‘can help us understand how categorization
is manipulated to establish socialdynamics which privilege certain groupings of experience and dismiss other
such groupings’ (2001: 49). One central technique of such manipulativecategorization is ‘iconographic reference’, i.e. the use of ‘simplistic i
mages of 
our experiences’ that are associated with ‘familiar values’, with the aim of establishing ‘a powerful conceptual link between the referent and a particular value judgment’ (2001: 32). Among the examples he discusses is a translated
text passage from
 Mein Kampf 
, quoted after Bosmajian’s
The Language of Oppression ( 
1983), which follows Manheim’s translation:
This contamination of our people is carried on systematically by the Jew today.Systematically these black parasites of the nation defile our inexperienced young blonde girls and thereby destroy something that can no longer bereplaced in this world (Hawkins 2001: 37; cf. Hitler 1933: 630; 1992: 512)
In his analysis, Hawkins focuses on Hitler’s characterization of the Jews as‘black parasites’ along three ‘iconographic frames of reference’ –
light/colour spectrum
, the
Great Chain of Being
, and the
 Human Body
. Asregards the first dimension, Hawkins (2001: 36, 38-40) highlights the
3 |
perceptual-physiological and cultural values associated with the colourcontrast BLACK-WHITE: whilst WHITENESS is linked to the experience of 
sunlight (the more unfiltered, the more ‘white’) and as the energy source of 
LIFE, and hence to positive emotions and experiences, whereas its opposite -totally blocked light, i.e. BLACKNESS, is associated with DEATH and thus with negative emotions/experiences. The respective stereotyped skin-coloursof humans have been arranged accordingly, especially in racist conceptualframeworks. Andrew Goatly (2007) has pointed out that a further link can befound in regard to the conceptual metaphor GOODNESS IS PURITY: a white
surface is considered to be ‘spoilt’ if there are black marks on it (Goatly 2007:47). Thus, any mixing, mingling or hybridisation of supposedly ‘pure’
including human ‘races’ –
can be conceptualized as an act of pollution and defilement.
 There can be little doubt that Hitler, in the context of his general racistoutlook on humanity, also subscribed to white supremacist views, but there isno indication in
 Mein Kampf 
that Jews are systematically associated with thecolou
r ‘black’, nor are they portrayed as being on the same racial level as African people. The latter, labeled ‘negroes’ (German:
) by Hitler, weredeemed to be inferior and on
ly capable, as ‘culture
carriers’ (
), of 
assisting higher races (first and foremost, Aryans) in their ‘culture
) work (Hitler 1933: 313-9; 1992: 260-9). The many disparaging remarks in
 Mein Kampf 
about ‘Negroes’, espe
cially as regards
their supposedly ‘low’ cultural standards and the supposed ‘insult’ to Germansoldiers and civilians of having been confronted by ‘negro soldiers’, mainly in
the French army, during World War I and the Rhineland occupation 1923-25,
that they occupy the ‘bottom’ rank of Hitler’s hierarchy of races.
However, they are not on the same level with the Jews - in fact, it is the latter who
are blamed for cunningly ‘bringing the Negro to the Rhine’, in order to
precipitate the racial downfall of the Germans (Hitler 1933: 357; 1992: 295).
The ‘negroes’ thus appear in
 Mein Kampf 
as hapless beings that ‘slavishly’obey their ‘master
- whoever those masters may be. Jews, by contrast, aredepicted as extremely clever and destructive: they do not fit into the static, vertical scale of euro-centred, white supremacist racism. Instead, they areconceived of as an evil force impacting on the hierarchy of races (by way of 
 bringing down all ‘higher races’ to the lowest possible point). ‘The Jew’ is notdepicted as the Aryan’s inferior subject but as his antagonist, i.e., as the‘destroyer of culture’ (
) in world history (Hitler 1933: 332;1992: 273-
4). For this reason, no ‘constructive’ relationship or mediation
 between Aryans and Jews was conceivable for Hitler
not even that of a
 building’ master race towards its slaves. The BLACKNESS of ‘theJew’ is that of an absolute contrast and opposition to the ‘Aryan’, not a
difference of grade.Besides the colour frame of ref 
erence, the contrast of ‘Aryan’ and ’Jew’ is
integrated, according to Hawkins, into two further iconographic frames: the
Great Chain of Being
and the
human body
. In referring to the
Great Chain of  Being
, Hawkins builds on Lakoff and Turner’s (1989: 166) c
ognitive analysis
of that concept complex as a ‘cultural model that concerns kinds of beings andtheir properties and places them on a vertical scale’. This conceptual complex
has its roots in ancient philosophy but it also still exists today in popular
nowledge and idioms in ‘a highly articulated version’ that is ‘indispensable to

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