Meme, myself and I

March 12, 1999

As Stephen R. L. Clark (Letters, THES, March 5) reminds us, selection, as metaphor or explanation, has a long currency in endeavours to express the power of Locke's "ideas and images of men's minds" to, as Locke puts it, "constantly govern them". If this was obvious to other correspondents, it is less so in society and perhaps even academia at large. My own experience of using memes as a means to explain to an organisational audience the power of self-replicating ideas goes back through five years of academic and non-academic writing, consulting, speaking and teaching. Whether taken as metaphor or theory, the meme "meme" has great utility as a device for reminding us of, or even introducing others to, the insidious power of self-replicating ideas and images and the organisational cultures they underpin.

I. Price Facilities Management Graduate Centre, Sheffield Hallam University

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