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Abstract

Colloquially, myth denotes a widely held belief that is fictional or erroneous. Its anthropological usage, however, does not carry the same pejorative charge: myths are simply conceptual schemata, embodying core metaphysical concepts and moral wisdom. It is in this latter sense that I dub alignment as a myth; not to question its factuality (a nonsensical property in the case of a belief) but to highlight and interrogate the cultural work that it does (Stillman, 1985). Barthes (1973) defines myth as a type of speech, a “second order semiological system” of signs drawn from the medium of language in which their original meanings are modified to suit the myth-building role. Any elementary linguistic object (the definition is broad, encompassing visual imagery as well as language) can be symbolically coopted as raw material by the mythical system. Barthes uses a cover page of Paris Match depicting a French negro soldier saluting the tricolour as an exemplar. Beyond the naive meaning, the second-order mythical signification is easily read: “France is a great Empire, that all her sons, without colour discrimination, faithfully serve under her flag...” (Barthes 1973, p. 116). Other symbols conveying the same underlying idea may readily be imagined. Through a matrix of such varied forms, the myth of French colonialism as a beneficent force is constituted.

Keywords

Fairy Tale Cultural Work Balance Scorecard French Colonialism Strategic Alignment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Wastell
    • 1
  1. 1.Nottingham University Business SchoolNottinghamUK

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