Frames, Metaphors & Politics: George Lakoff

Nathalia Ramos

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Often referred to as the “father of framing,” Professor George Lakoff is a renowned cognitive linguist whose work has contributed to a new understanding of the ways that conceptual frames and metaphors shape our social and political lives. Lakoff retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley in 2016 and is currently Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society. He has authored dozens of books, including Metaphors we Live By with co-author Mark Johnson, Moral Politics, and most recently, Don’t Think of An Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate.  

Nathalia Ramos (Berggruen Institute) and Max Henning (USC Brain & Creativity Institute) spoke with Professor Lakoff to get his take on the strategies that both Democrats and Republicans are using to frame this election and, beyond that, how developing new frames is key to reviving civil discourse in this country and building a flourishing & sustainable future.  

*Clarification: This interview was recorded last week (Oct 20, 2020), and in the discussion the speakers are referring to the Town Hall debates which held on Oct 15 in separate locations.