chapter  12
8 Pages

Metaphor and institutional crisis: the near-death experience of Antioch College

ByPaula A. Treichler

In everyday life, most of us belong to various institutions whose discourses – patterns of language, imagery, practices – we come to take for granted. Discourses embody institutionalized, formalized norms; they are predictive and prescriptive bodies of representation with built-in, but typically covert, ideological and historical assumptions that, over time, come to seem natural, “the way things are,” the default position. But institutional crisis typically changes this state of affairs: what has seemed natural or inevitable becomes newly visible and questionable. Competing discourses and perspectives emerge to create new allegiances that challenge, yet perhaps ultimately serve to reconsolidate, the institution’s prevailing ideology and direction.1