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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A metaphor for disaster : a multiple case study of the leaky condo crisis Hayter, Martin Robert


This study investigated the effects of a process of metaphor creation on the meaningful understanding of a significant past experience - that of owning and living in a condominium that had been damaged because of excessive rain and poor building practises and/or materials. This natural disaster has affected the Lower Mainland of British Columbia predominantly, and the media have called it "The Leaky Condo Crisis." Theory states that metaphors can be helpful in changing how people feel toward, think about, and deal with their experiences. In this way metaphors can help people toward a more meaningful understanding of those experiences. In order to explore these ideas, a structured intervention was developed and called the MetaForm. It involves the creation of metaphors for an experience in order to explore the similarities and differences between the metaphor and the experience to derive meaning from or add meaning to the experience. To this end, each of four co-researchers was interviewed twice. The Intervention Interview introduced the MetaForm. The participants related their condominium stories, then they created metaphors for various parts of those stories. These parts were named after the elements of drama: setting, mood, props, cast, plot and theme. When a coresearcher suggested a metaphor, it was elaborated into a full story or drama by that coresearcher and myself. The Inquiry Interview explored the MetaForm for evidence of meaningful understanding. Participants reported that the MetaForm intervention helped them, to varying degrees and in different ways, to develop a more meaningful understanding of their experiences of owning and living in water-damaged condominiums.

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