Journal Article

The Language of Siege: Military Metaphors in the Spoken Language of Social Work

Chris Beckett

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 33, issue 5, pages 625-639
Published in print July 2003 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online July 2003 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
The Language of Siege: Military Metaphors in the Spoken Language of Social Work

Show Summary Details


This article discusses the language that is used by children and family social workers when talking about their work, and specifically the metaphors that such language draws upon. The question of the relationship between language and reality that has been raised by postmodernist theory is considered, but it is argued that it remains sensible to see language as ‘a reflection of reality’, however partial. Drawing on ideas about metaphor from other disciplines, it is suggested that by identifying the sources of metaphors used in spoken language it is possible to gain insights into underlying mental concepts. Metaphors in the language of social work are found to come from several sources, including medicine, business and industry, but attention is drawn here in particular to terms with military connotations, implying underlying conceptual metaphors that equate social work with war. The implications of this are discussed.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.