This study by Phillip Eubanks challenges traditional accounts of metaphor and significantly expands theories of "conceptual" metaphor by examining Trade Is War metaphor as it occurs in concrete discourse.
Although scholarly interest in metaphor as an aesthetic, linguistic, and cognitive phenomenon has long endured, Eubanks is among the first to consider metaphor in its sociohistorical role. Questioning major accounts of metaphor from Aristotle to the present, Eubanks argues that metaphor is not just influenced by but actually is constituted by its concrete operation.
Far-reaching in its implications for our understanding of metaphor, Eubanks’s premise enables us to see metaphor as a sweeping rhetorical entity even as it accounts for the more localized operations of metaphor of interest to linguists, philosophers of language, and cognitive scientists. Providing a new model of metaphoric functioning, Eubanks reconsiders the most promising account of metaphor to date, the notion of "conceptual metaphor.”
Eubanks focuses on the conceptual metaphor Trade Is War—a metaphor found wherever people discuss business and commerce—to develop his rhetorical model of metaphor. He analyzes Trade Is War as it occurs in the print news media, on television discussion shows, in academic works, in popular nonfiction and novels, in historic economic commentary, and in focus group talk. While these examples do reveal a rich variety in the make-up of Trade Is War, much more than mere variety is at stake.
Trade Is War is implicated in an extended and rhetorically complex conversation with other metaphors and literal concepts: trade is peace, Trade Is a Game, Trade Is Friendship, Trade is a Journey, and Markets Are Containers. The recognition and analysis of this constituting conversation furthers a reevaluation theory. What also emerges, however, is a valuable portrait of the discourse of trade itself, a discourse that depends importantly upon a responsive interchange of metaphors.