Establishing Legitimacy through Figures of Speech: The Lady and The Beast
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
Academy of Management Annual Meeting
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
Although the process of legitimacy construction is crucial to maintain social order and ensure acceptance of actions and decisions, relatively little institutional research has explored how rhetoric, and in particular figures of speech, affect it. Empirically, we engage with the figures of speech used by multiple stakeholders vying to impose their ideas and actions to shape the future of cruise ships in Venice. Drawing on the cognitive linguistic concept of image schema that allows us to unveil the topological structure of meaning, we show how three mechanisms ? exploiting core (or peripheral) features of the context in which legitimacy is needed; creating hierarchies; creating containment vs creating openness ? that are based on movement and affect the assumptions of appropriateness and desirability underpinning legitimacy. Our findings contribute to the literature on legitimation by providing a model of how to employ figures of speech to the sense of appropriateness and desirability and in turn legitimacy.