The history of a discipline is a history of its dialogue, and its dialogue relies inevitably upon metaphors. However, metaphors can both help and hinder as they pass from fresh insight to normal speech. In this paper we argue that metaphoric analysis can be used to examine how the emergence and evolution of the metaphors employed in a discipline can influence its course. We use metaphoric analysis to survey significant metaphors in the history of the Information Systems discipline, in particular those relating to its central construct, information. We consider the possibility of an account for information that is non-reifying, as well as approaches that eschew metaphors, and the consequences of such formulations for IS.
Pigott, Diarmuid; Ledsham, Callan; Hobbs, Valerie; and Gammack, John, "Paying back borrowed meanings: The implications of the metaphor-driven history of IS research for its future" (2013). ACIS 2013 Proceedings. 171.