Metaphors about Violence by Preservice Teachers

Nilüfer Özabacı, Zülal Erkan


The Problem. The definition of violence the actual bodily harm inflicted by one person on another person where the body boundary is breached and physical injury occurs. Research indicates that different types of violence are used as a means of enforcing discipline in the family and the school context. Children and adolescents who grow up in an environment where violence has a natural place tend to resort to violence at every stage of their lives without question.Purpose. The aim of this research was therefore to determine adolescents’ perception of the concept of violence through the use of metaphors. Accordingly, answers to the following questions were sought: What metaphors do the youth use to describe the concept of violence? Under which conceptual categories can these metaphors be grouped in terms of their common features? How do the conceptual categories vary in relation to the students’ gender and the subjects they study at unversity?

Method. The study was conducted in 2009 with the help of 303 students at Mersin University and Eskişehir Osmangazi University (Faculty of Education).  Incomplete statements such as “Violence is like ..., because ...”  were used in an attempt to understand the students’ perception of violence. The students were given 15 minutes to complete the statements. Demographic questions were also asked on the the students’ age, gender and study directions. The data were analyzed through qualitative analysis, and processes such as frequency distribution and quantitative correlation data were evaluated through SPSS data analysis.

Findings. It emerged that the students used 74 metaphors of violence that could be divided into seven categories: (1) Violence as a way of controlling others; 2) Violence as part of social and affective life; (3) Violence as devastation; (4) Violence as learned helplessness; (5) Violence as a consequence of poor communication; (6)Violence as a phenomenon with psychological and physical effects; (7) Violence as a state of mind with long-term ongoing effects. The findings on these categories are presented and recommendations made.

Conclusions and Recommendations. The analysis of the research results according to the students’ field of study indicated that the metaphors describing violence were grouped mainly under the theme (category) of “Violence as a way of controlling others”. As the students in these fields of study received an education focused more on concrete and precise facts, they tended to perceive violence in a more conceptual way


Violence, Metaphor, Teacher, Rough Stuff

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