From Catch-and-Harvest to Catch-and-Release: Trout Unlimited and Repair-Focused Deinstitutionalization

Article Abstract

Increasingly we are faced with broad societal challenges that encourage us to rethink existing institutions. Yet many people also want to preserve institutions they cherish. This tension points to the need for change that can erode or discontinue unsustainable or problematic aspects of institutions while also maintaining what is sacred and valued. In this paper we ask how can organizations deinstitutionalize taken-for-granted practices while also preserving the institution? We answer this question by exploring how Trout Unlimited deployed visual and discursive tactics to push out unsustainable catch-and-harvest fly fishing practices and insert new catch-and-release practices. Our primary theoretical contribution is a model of repair-focused deinstitutionalization, illustrating how custodians utilize three forms of work to respond to threats—mending, caring, and restoring—all with an eye on deinstitutionalization via repair rather than disruption. Importantly, we show how the construct of repair is multipurpose, not limited to maintenance strategies, but can also be a catalyst for change. In addition, we extend research on deinstitutionalization by presenting a multimodal approach that goes beyond discourse, with particular attention to visuality and show how different modalities present different affordances in longer-term repair efforts.

Organization Studies, February 2023 

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What social change movements can learn from fly fishing: The value of a care-focused message

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About the researcher

Erica Coslor (PhD in Sociology, University of Chicago), is a Senior Lecturer in Management at the University of Melbourne. As an economic sociologist in a management department, her research interests include market structure and process, valuation issues, calculative practices, and the sociology of finance and accounting. Her scholarly publications on the financialization of art have also been used by legal practitioners such as the US Copyright Office.

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