Resistance to metaphor in parliamentary debates

Kiki Yvonne Renardel de Lavalette*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD-Thesis – Research and graduation external


This dissertation aims to contribute to the study of political discourse by examining how politicians turn parliamentary debates into their favour by using metaphors in arguing, and how opposing parties resist these metaphors in an attempt at turning the debate into their own favour. Combining insights from the three-dimensional model of metaphor and the pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation, it presents a novel theoretical perspective to investigate the argumentative roles and functions that metaphors and the resistance to metaphors fulfil at specific discussion stages, uncovering the advantages that politicians attempt to attain by employing metaphors in those stages.
The author first examines how politicians use metaphors to express starting points and the different ways in which opponents resist these metaphors to achieve diverging outcomes in the opening stage of a discussion. Then, she studies the argumentative role of metaphors in parliamentary debates by focusing on cases of figurative analogy arguments in the argumentation stage of the discussion, and on how figurative analogy arguments are countered. Finally, she investigates how metaphors with a clarificatory function and the resistance to such metaphors feature in parliamentary debates to establish a shared understanding of the issue under discussion between politicians in the confrontation and argumentation stages. Together, the studies presented in this dissertation demonstrate that metaphors are important argumentative strategies in parliamentary debates, and that resisting them seems to be a pertinent skill for politicians.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universiteit van Amsterdam
  • Steen, Gerard J., Supervisor, External person
  • Burgers, Christian, Supervisor
  • Andone, Corina, Co-supervisor, External person
Award date17 Jun 2021
Print ISBNs9789460933769
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


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