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Marco Berti

The use of metaphors is presented as a heuristic device to present and to reflect on the multiple issues surrounding discourse analysis. The nature of metaphors (and similar tropes) and their functions are discussed, with particular reference to the use of metaphors in management and organizational studies, showing that they can better deploy their potential in the context of an abductive epistemological framework. Finally, three ‘images’ of discourse are introduced, with the purpose of both illustrating and enabling the emergence of new knowledge and meaning: organizational discourse as a map, as organizing, and as a mask. Key words: metaphors, tropes, disciplined imagination, abduction
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Marco Berti

This final chapter provides a concrete exemplification of the application of organizational discourse analysis, in which the heuristic potential of the approach is employed to critically describe a complex interorganizational field of practices that underlies the global institution of business education. The discussion, based on a critical survey of the vast literature on management education, is summarized in the form of a map of the contrasting life worlds that, potentially, can emerge from different configurations of ideological and social forces characterizing the field of management studies and education. Key words: business education, business schools, publishing game, ranking and accreditation, interdisciplinarity
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Marco Berti

This chapter introduces the ‘linguistic turn’ in organizational studies, positioning discourse analysis in the broader paradigm of studies that examine the linguistic and cultural aspects of organizing. The role of language in consolidating experiences and constructing social reality is examined, together with its performative character, showing that language is not exclusively a mental abstraction but is given life by practical communicative actions. Key words: language, social construction, meaning, performative
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Marco Berti

Our knowledge and understanding of organizations is both enabled and constrained by invisible relationship of power that are embedded in the ways in which we act and speak. The notion of discourse has been used by many authors to describe and study these phenomena, and this volume offers a succinct but comprehensive introduction to the vast field of critical organizational discourse analysis. Targeted at graduate and doctoral students, and at non-specialist academic who need to familiarize with the academic debate on the subject, the book harnesses the power of metaphors to describe the many faces of discourse.
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Marco Berti

Rather than proposing a single definition of organizational discourse this chapter starts by reviewing alternative taxonomies that have been proposed to account for the multiple varieties of organizational discourse analysis that have emerged in literature. Some of the ontological and epistemological challenges encountered by discourse analysts are then discussed. To address these problems a new interpretative model which connects materiality and discourse is proposed, building on the concept of affordances. Key words: organizational discourse, varieties of discourse, ontology, affordances, materiality
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Marco Berti

Symbolic practices have a pivotal role in producing and preserving social patterns and organizational settings. However, it would be problematic to equate discourse and organization, since the latter requires more than mere talk to be substantiated and it is therefore useful to consider discourses as organizing devices that operate in conjunction with material elements that can be examined with approaches such as actor-network theory. At the same time, the ongoing production of social association does not happen in a void, since existing power/knowledge structures, embedded in discourse, constrain and enable these associations, suggesting the need to include a phronetic critical perspective in the analysis. The case of attempted reform in the Vatican is used as a concrete exemplification of the complex web of relationships. Key words: organizing, phronesis, critical discourse analysis, actor-network theory, the Vatican
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Marco Berti

The mask metaphor is employed to show that while discourses produce subjectivities and identities they can also produce ambiguity, superficiality, silence. Various forms of organizational silence are considered, ranging from individual acts to hegemonic repressions of identity. The metaphor also enables one to highlight the role of fashions and fads in organizational discourse, and to consider the vices and virtues of emptiness. Finally, the existence of powerful discourses which are build around an essential semantic void is considered. Key words: ambiguity, organizational silence, hegemony, management fashions, emptiness
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Marco Berti

This metaphor highlights the role of differences and contrapositions, showing how these can be used to describe discourses. Discourses are similar to maps because they are representational and generative, creating their own subjects; as with maps, discourses come in different scales and they are equally (re)produced by means of symbolic practices and artefacts. At the same time, the semantic tensions between the concepts help to highlight the complex and intertwined relationship between discourse, power, material reality and knowledge. Key words: cartography, power/knowledge, representation, scale of discourse, phronesis
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Patrizia Hoyer, Chris Steyaert and Julia C. Nentwich