Publication details [#9270]

Ritchie, L. David. 2002. Monastery or economic enterprise: Opposing or complementary metaphors of higher education? Metaphor and Symbol 17 (1) : 45–55. 11 pp.


Two opposing metaphors of higher education are identified and discussed. The first, "KNOWLEDGE IS AN ECONOMIC GOOD" and "ACADEMIC ACTIVITY IS ECONOMIC PRODUCTION", appeals to business leaders, politicians, and career-minded students. The second, "UNIVERSITYAS MONASTIC COMMUNITY", related to the "UNIVERSITY AS COMMUNITY" metaphor discussed by Batstone (2000), can be identified with the medieval origins of the university and appeals to tradition-minded academicians, especially in the humanities and social sciences. Drawing on Vervaeke and Kennedy's (1996) critique of the concept of unique implicit metaphors, I argue that each metaphor illuminates unique aspects of the target concept: higher education. In the case of contradictory metaphors for a complex concept such as higher education, I argue that the solution is neither to reject one root metaphor in favor of the other nor to attempt some form of synthesis but to regard each as a limited and partial expression of the concept in its entirety. (David Ritchie)