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Chiara Nasti (University of Naples Federico II)

The Road from Lisbon: Movement Metaphors in the British Press.


The European Union process of institutional reform has been a much-debated issue among the EU Member States in recent years. Since the rejection of the European Constitution by France and The Netherlands in 2005, the European Union has been proceeding towards the drawing up of a Reform Treaty and its following adoption by all Members States. In 2007 the Lisbon Treaty was signed by all the Heads of State and Government of the 27 Member States of the European Union but its ratification has not been completed yet. Indeed, Ireland’s referendum rebuff last June put the European Union in a kind of ‘institutional crisis’ and EU leaders are questioning the future of Europe.

Against this background, this doctoral research project aims to investigate the representation and description of the European Union integration process related to the Lisbon Treaty debate in the British press. In particular, the research project aims to analyse the most recurrent conceptual metaphors in order to show how these metaphors not only describe the scenario created by the rejection of the treaty but also give information about Britain’s perception of the EU and its future.

The preliminary work conducted on the corpus collected seems to indicate interesting perspective of research in the fields of Conflict, Movement and Race Metaphors which seems to suggest a new image of Britain in the European Union integration process.

This paper consists of three main parts. The first part briefly introduces a definition of metaphors based on the cognitive theory. The second part is a brief overview of the previous works made in this research field. The third part shows how the methodology of Corpus Linguistics can be applied to the investigation of metaphors and explores a few preliminary findings.

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