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Root Metaphors

Within the field of intercultural communication, root metaphors serve as both identification and research tools to explore how individuals and communities interpret lived experience. This entry examines some of the most popular contexts where root metaphors can be found and identifies research areas that continue to draw on the identification and expansion of root metaphors in order to resolve conflict.

All cultures create images and pictures of who they are for explanatory purposes: creation myths to establish values in a culture; stories to inculcate values, attitudes, and beliefs; and frames to help outsiders step into new contact zones. All individuals process lived experiences through cognitive lenses that frame and name these experiences. At the deepest level of description, understanding, and knowing, there are root metaphors. These ...

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