Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Modern Languages

First Advisor

Olivier Tonnerre

Relational Format



This thesis examines the ways in which French national identity was constructed metaphorically during the 2012 presidential election. Due to the increased controversy surrounding the overt utilization of the term national identity following the 2007-2012 Sarkozy administration, candidates in the 2012 presidential election used metaphor as a means by which to define their own competing conceptions of French national identity. The goal of this study is to examine the phenomenon of national identity creation by addressing the following question: How does each principal candidate (François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy) in the French presidential election of 2012 use metaphor in order to construct their own vision of national identity? This thesis employs a qualitative methodology that synthesizes cognitive linguistics and discourse analysis to systematically analyze the metaphorical enunciations of each candidate in eight major campaign discourses. It deconstructs and details a deliberate and coherent strategy to mold metaphor into a cohesive national narrative that supports each candidate's respective ideology. The thesis concludes that not only did the candidates employ metaphor to address the complex and taboo nature of national identity, but also that political ideology does indeed influence metaphorical constructions of French national identity.

Available for download on Tuesday, September 01, 2020