Empathy in police-community interaction

We’ve just published a new academic article about talk in a public meeting after a police shooting in Portland, Oregon, in which we examine how metaphors interact with empathy: Ritchie, D. & L. Cameron (2014) Open hearts or smoke and mirrors: Metaphorical framing and frame conflicts in a public meeting. Metaphor & Symbol, 29, 204–223. … Continue reading

Two gifts to share

I am very happy to have received two gifts today. 1. an English translation of a Basque poem (I am visiting San Sebastian to discuss conflict, communication and cognition) Embodied Experiment in the Stairway   2. a short url that links to the website Empathy Dynamics in Conflict Transformation http://www.open.ac.uk/edict This is (one of the … Continue reading

The hyenas are eating guns

“The hyenas are eating guns”  it is a phrase we used to discourage the raids  (Evans Onyiego, Maralal Diocese Peace Building Team) In this post, I show how the phrase came about from a story told one night in the Kenyan bush. The phrase condenses a story into five words. It is, on the surface, … Continue reading

Nostalgia for the Light

Beautiful title, wonderful film. Astronomical exploration of galaxies and searching for tiny pieces of bones of the ‘disappeared’ in the Atacama desert in Chile. People speak of unspeakable pain, and of wonder. The film provides images of beauty that enhance both the suffering and the humanity. Metaphors that flow into each other, coalesce and present … Continue reading

Creative understanding – a visual metaphor

I was looking for a photo of Alberto Giacometti and found one on this website, taken by Henri Cartier Bresson. It shows him working with clay to make a sculpture. When I was writing about reconciliation conversations and how the two people involved made gestures of empathy in their talk, this became a metaphor of the process … Continue reading

Urban violence and its impact on the social landscape: Personal experiences from north eastern Brazil

In urban Brazil, I found a world with a different physical structure and a different emotional outlook. Uncertainty and fear of violence seem to have turned living inside out. Everyone I meet and who we interview knows the stories from the media; they become known by the first name of the victim, like Alanis, the … Continue reading

Empathy through action

Am just back from Nairobi where I went to meet people involved in the work of the Conflict Sensitivity Consortium and to explore connections with empathy. My head is still full of images and stories; I am full of admiration for the Kenyan people I met doing amazing things, making a difference in their communities. … Continue reading

Metaphors of connection

When people talk about being friends, and about stopping being friends, they use metaphors that are about being close to another person, often so close that contact is made: I had to be there for him keep in touch — lose touch we were inseparable we shared an interest in gardening we were in contact  … Continue reading

Metaphors of friendship and marriage

Am off to Manchester tomorrow for a meeting with some interesting sociologists. We are collaborating to examine how people talk about difficulties in friendships, with me bringing along my expertise in metaphors to apply to their data. We want to find out whether analysing people’s metaphors gives us new insights into their ideas, attitudes and … Continue reading