Of NASA and Neanderthals, elephants and machines: metaphors and the conceptualization of homeland security
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The homeland security enterprise is still struggling to find a sense of self: the common cause, common language, and common understanding. In effect, the homeland security culture is still elusive. This thesis explores the idea that metaphors can provide a means for conceptualizing, defining, and representing the homeland security enterprise. The use of metaphor encompasses elements of language, philosophy, psychology, and cognition, and therefore how a phenomenon, organization, system, or endeavor is comprehended depends on the metaphors that are applied to aid in that comprehension. To understand what roles metaphors currently play in the homeland security paradigm, a document analysis of seminal and subsequent homeland security writings was conducted in search of the metaphors employed to conceptualize the enterprise. The research found that homeland security metaphors are limited to simple words and/or phrases and no extended metaphors were employed. This thesis advances that metaphors are necessary for the conceptualization of phenomena in general and that there is a need to find and apply alternative and/or additional metaphors to comprehend the homeland security enterprise and culture.
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