‘The monster in the back seat’
The metaphorical representation of dementia in Flemish blogs
Keywords:Dementia, stigmatisation, discourse analysis, blogs, conceptual metaphor, discourse representation
People living with dementia (PWDs) often experience stigma that is reinforced by negative representations of the condition in discourse. This paper addresses the lack of research into this stigma by analyzing the representation of the condition in naturally occurring texts of people in direct contact with PWDs. Two blogs from Flemish family caregivers and one blog from a Flemish health professional were selected based on word count and keyword relevance, and studied both quantitatively and qualitatively. For the quantitative analysis keywords, n-grams, and collocations were identified in 225 blog posts, using Sketch Engine. For the qualitative analysis, 26 blog posts were analyzed by categorizing conceptual metaphors according to their conceptual mappings. The quantitative analysis indicates that the health professional employs a different approach in reporting, compared to the family caregivers. The qualitative analysis results in five conceptual mappings: PWDs as living dead, PWDs as trees, dementia as concealment, dementia as an
acting entity and dementia as an attack. The frequency of these mappings shows that the condition is being dissociated from the PWDs, and described with more negative metaphors than the PWDs themselves.
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