chapter  11
18 Pages

Brewing a Crisis: Language, Educational Reform, and the Defense of a Nation

This chapter is about the language of national crisis-especially how crisis functions as a powerful metaphor in public discourse about educational reform. Leaders attempt to influence citizens’ beliefs and actions in order to effect change, often in terms of “crisis.” Such crises have personal consequences but are presented or perceived as problems of large scale and broad impact. They do not arise within, nor are they expressed by individuals. The characterization of a problem as a national crisis is a sociolinguistic transformation of that problem into an urgent call for organized response. The crisis is situated in a particular time, place, and social context. It is described in terms of the problem, its cause, the urgent need for decisive change, and the nature and content of that change.