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The Cancer Card: metaphor and humour in online interactions about the experience of cancer

Demjen, Zsofia; Semino, E; (2017) The Cancer Card: metaphor and humour in online interactions about the experience of cancer. In: Hampe, B, (ed.) Metaphor: Embodied Cognition and Discourse. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom. Green open access

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Abstract

Employing a dynamic system approach, this chapter investigates the use of one particular metaphor—the ‘cancer card’—on an online forum dedicated to cancer. Far from being a common Card Game metaphor with a stable source-target mapping, the metaphor is collaboratively developed (i.e. used, re-used, adapted) to express the idea that patients can use their illness to their advantage in a variety of situations, while also reflecting a broader tendency to employ humor as a strategy for coping with adversity. An analysis of all 106 instances of ‘(cancer) card(s)’ on one of the threads of the forum shows that, though related to English expressions like ‘play the […] card’ and to conventional conceptual metaphors like LIFE IS A GAME, its use is specific to the interactions among the members of this online community. Our analysis of the ‘cancer card’ as a group-specific metaphoreme (Cameron & Deignan 2006) emphasizes that multiple interacting factors must be considered to account for such rich and complex phenomena as the use of metaphors in online interactions.

Type: Book chapter
Title: The Cancer Card: metaphor and humour in online interactions about the experience of cancer
ISBN-13: 9781107198333
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/lang...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Cancer, humour, metaphor, complex systems.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10030525
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