Surveying Metaphors in Pussy Riot's Defense Statements

  • Cara Muise Dalhousie University


Following one of the year's most talked-about performances, three members of Russia's Pussy Riot were charged with hooliganism. At trial, band members read defense statements which employed an extensive use of spatial and container metaphors, allowing readers to organize concepts into a new system with respect to one another. The women, for example, use the terms 'up' and 'down' to speak of positivity and negativity, respectively. They also organize their society along a grid to showcase how the average Russian (horizontal axis) interacts with the country's political system (vertical axis). This essay examines how society employs conceptual metaphors and the use of metaphors to represent the band’s complex relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin.