June 3, 2020, by Brigitte Nerlich

CfP: Covid-19 and metaphors special issue

Call for contributions to Special Issue of Metaphor and Symbol on:

Framing Covid-19:
Assessing the Socio-cultural Imagery of the 2020 Corona Pandemic


Martin Döring (University of Hamburg, Germany)
Brigitte Nerlich (University of Nottingham, United Kingdom)


The global Covid-19 pandemic has led to an explosion of metaphors and symbols. Research tracing and examining this imagery is rapidly emerging. We therefore think that it is vital to publish a special issue with Metaphor and Symbol that investigates the various metaphoric, metonymic and symbolic framings conceptualising this pandemic of a novel coronavirus. The special issue invites systematic analyses of such framings and their cultural, social and ethical impacts and ramifications. We welcome contributions from the humanities, sociology, medical sociology, anthropology, science and technology studies and the sciences that theoretically and empirically engage with the role of metaphors and symbols in all sorts of discourses about Covid-19 all over the globe.

Suggested topics for the Special Issue include, but are not limited to:

  • assessing the influence of the linguistic and cognitive imagery on framing the Covid-19 outbreak;
  • mapping and interpreting the metaphors and metonymies, as well as symbols, in various public, media, political and scientific discourses in various cultures;
  • determining whether and which metaphors, metonymies, symbols and images travel between cultures and between scientific and popular discourses in a globalised world; and
  • investigating the implications of the imagery from an ethical, political, social and cultural point of view.

Overall, the Special Issue aims to contribute to:

  • understanding public, social, cultural and scientific responses to the Corona pandemic;
  • raising awareness about the diversity of linguistic imagery revolving around Covid-19;
  • offering a critical examination of the imagery used including its presuppositions and implications;
  • revealing underlying normative assumptions and offer ethical analyses;
  • uncovering the socio-cultural situatedness of the imagery and its connected cultural beliefs;
  • exploring the socio-political dimensions of symbols, metaphors and metonymies used to frame Covid-19; and
  • learning lessons for the management of future epidemics and pandemics.

Important dates and info:

  • Submission of abstracts by 30th of June 2020
  • Notification of acceptance by 31st of July 2020
  • Submission for internal review by 31st of October 2020
  • Feedback from editors by 30th of November 2020
  • Submission to Metaphor and Symbol by 31st of December for peer-review 2020
  • Publication of special issue by 31st of March 2021

We prefer empirically based articles between 5000 and 7000 words, so as not to fill the special issue with just a few long articles, but if there is something important, short and punchy to say you can also aim for 3000 to 4000 words.

Please send your abstract (max. one page, Calibri 12, 1.5 line spacing) including your contact details to Martin Döring (doering@metaphorik.de) and Brigitte Nerlich (brigitte.nerlich@nottingham.ac.uk) and contact us if you have any further questions.


Image by Miroslava Chrienova from Pixabay

Posted in infectious diseasesLanguageMetaphors