Greenery vs. Concrete and Walls vs. Doors: Images and Metaphors Affecting an Urban Mission


  • Carol Severino University of Iowa


Higher Education, Urban Missions, Metaphors, Social Policy


Explanations for professional and public resistance to an "urban mission" can be found in the history of higher education, where two themes emerge, each with its own images that form what George Lakoff and Mark Johnson call a "metaphorical conceptual system. " Such systems reflect and help determine how people think and act when they make and respond to social policy. This essay examines the discourses in American social thought and higher education in terms of metaphors and images of the wide-open country and of the walled city to show how pastoralism and gatekeeping have undermined an urban mission.