The Metaphors of Globalization and Trade: An Analysis of the Language used in the WTO.

This research project examined the metaphors of Globalization and trade in the context of current asymmetries prevailing between high- and low-income countries. As a theoretical underpinning we used historical discourse analysis which views language as a social activity through which humans conceive and understand the reality they live in. Metaphors in particular provide speakers with an inventory of comparisons and pictures. Metaphors offer the discourse its down-to-earth shading and help in this way to secure one specific perspective on reality. How this is being done in the WTO system is demonstrated in the empirical part of the article. Metaphors on Globalization and trade were extracted from face-to-face interviews with WTO staff and trade diplomats of low-income African countries. These metaphors were analyzed with respect to their force in making trade ‘speakable’, and by doing so providing the one particular view on Globalization that hardly leaves any space for alternative considerations.