This study advances our knowledge of the role of metaphor in deliberation in everyday speech (with an emphasis on the role of competition, cooperation, and connection metaphors), which up to now has not been studied as an important discursive strategy in deliberation. Furthermore, the study contributes to our understanding of the discursive practices that happen during deliberation, as opposed to measuring, for example, deliberation’s effects. After all, scholars, more and more, are writing about deliberative communication as a means to understand how communities can improve the quality of their communication and decision-making to work through problems. Language strategies, such as metaphor, help deliberators resolve what scholars have referred to as “wicked problems” or problems that are negotiated across time and are latent with competing values and social identities. One example of a citizen-led, localized context, where community members work to address a “wicked problem” is the Salem Kids Group. In this paper, we argue that in the Salem Kids Group’s online and face-to-face discussions, three dominant family metaphors, competition, cooperation, and connection, work to structure and define parameters for the group’s everyday talk and hold important implications for everyday speech in deliberation.

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