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Metaphor and the Social World

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Language and communication, Quality of life, Cognition and language


This study combines Discourse Dynamics (Cameron, 2007) with Perceptual Simulation Theory (Barsalou, 2007; Gibbs, 2006), to analyze a sample of talk among residents of an urban neighborhood about topics related to community safety and the quality of life in their community. The results demonstrate the role of casual conversation in structuring complex social relationships, and the usefulness of close attention to metaphors, story-telling, and humor. By their use, re-use, and development of metaphors and stories the participants in this conversation express and reinforce the patterns of sociability and mutual watchfulness that contribute to a feeling of safety and comfort in their neighborhood, resolve contradictions inherent in life in a diverse community, and cultivate mutual commitment to maintaining the neighborhood as a pleasant community in which to live and raise children.


This is the Author's Original Manuscript of the article "Why the block is the block: Reinforcing community through casual conversation" from Metaphor and the Social World. Reprinted with kind permission from John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam/Philadelphia. [].



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