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The Bunker: metaphor, materiality & management

By Luke Bennett

Abstract

The image of the ‘bunker’ has a deep resonance in contemporary organisational discourse, This paper seeks to explore the link between this metaphor and the materiality of the bunker as an actual place. The Twentieth Century origins of the bunker lie within the rise of aerial bombardment. The bunker, as a structure, is a triumph of function over form, yet it somehow also resonates at a symbolic level – either by invocation of the abject circumstances of Hitler’s final days in his Berlin bunker or in the celluloid imaginings of the nuclear command bunker during the Cold War. In each case the materiality, the ‘concrete’ essence, of the bunker weaves in and out of its symbolic existence. This paper also considers the fate of these bunkers and what their ruins leave for us as traces of the essentialist organisational life lived in extremis by those who dwelt within them.\ud \ud Keywords: metaphor; organisational symbolism; bunker; air-raid; phenomenology of dwelling; shelter; nuclear war; Hitler; Virilio; logistics of perception

Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:shura.shu.ac.uk:3260

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