Week 4 Megablog: Framing & Standing

This megablog compiles some of the highlights of blog responses to the readings on framing and standing for the week of February 29th. I thought Vic’s approach last week was awesome, so I’m going to emulate it here, right down to the inclusion of a cartoon…

What Benford & Snow May Think About Framing Occupy –gaboosh/Gabi

  • The concept of the 99% attempts to act as a frame that encompasses a huge number of people, but because it’s vague the movement hasn’t seen as much attribution-related “rancorous conflict” Benford and Snow might have predicted.
  • Occupy as a “prefigurative movement” that attempts to enact change not just through messages or framing, but also through the form of its existence. Suggests problems in achieving this may affect frame resonance.
  • Credibility of frame elements doesn’t necessarily have to hold empirically or universally, but rather to a specific set of individuals. Mentions Mooney’s recent book, The Republican Brain as making a similar point.

Framing: a cliché? –pamamom/Pamela

  • Drawing on Benford’s An Insider’s Critique of the Social Movement Framing Perspective, asks whether the concept of framing has become overused by scholars.
  • Benford’s main argument: “the field is lacking a sociology of movement framing processes, but has an abundance of frame names.”
  • Framing as a way to take into consideration the role of emotion in social movements; in stark contrast to the economic analysis of resource mobilization.
  • Concludes in agreement with Benford: “Framing, however cliche, is an aspect of social movements that must continue to be analyzed, in the way that Bedford suggests: More analyzing how as opposed to naming the framings.”

Book Report: Shaping Abortion Discourse –huansun/Huan

  • Shaping Abortion Discourse offers a comparative study of the framing of abortion discourse by both journalists and other actors in newspaper articles in the US and Germany across a three-decade timespan. The book is divided into two parts.
  • In the first part, the authors articulate the concept of a discursive opportunity structure–a theoretical model that seeks to explain differences in framing strategies within a larger cultural or social context.
  • They employ concepts of standing (whether or not actors have a voice in the public sphere) and framing (the relative influence/power of a voice) at the level of both article and utterance.
  • In the second part, they evaluate discursive quality within the context of four models of democracy: Representative Liberal, Participatory Liberal, Discursive, and Constructionist/Feminist.
  • While the first part is persuasive, Huan offers some criticism of the second part: For example, using only a single case study to generalize a country’s democratic model is problematic at best.
  • Huan leaves us with the question of how today’s digital media, which has eroded the power of traditional media institutions, challenges their theoretical framework. Is the metaphor of a stadium for the public sphere—a metaphor they draw heavily on in describing different arenas of discourse—even useful today?

1… 2… 3: Lakoff vs. Luntz. In Glorious Frame by Frame Action! –harusaif/Amy

(Yes, I wrote a blog this week in addition to compiling the megablog. What can I say, I have a background in linguistics and am fascinated by frame analysis.)

  • Describes an 2010 article by George Lakoff on the relationship between framing, language, messaging, and cognition. In it he emphasizes the importance of considering bi-conceptuals—people who hold multiple, conflicting frames—when evaluating frames.
  • Contends that a larger corporate frame underlies the FrameWorks Institute’s presentation, while a traditional hierarchy of expertise grounds Benford and Snow’s article.
  • Draws on another article by Lakoff that directly responds to Frank Luntz on framing Republican vocabulary (one of our readings for this week); he contends that while Luntz frames the situation as one of panic and emergency, he is actually trying to activate specific, detrimental responses from progressives. This is a trap of frames within frames.

It Is All About Communication –khkern/Kelly

  • The readings this week evoke Castell’s contention that politics is communication; at the base of it all is winning over people’s minds.
  • Looks at the way the case of the Rutgers student who recently committed suicide after his roommate posted a video of him with another man online, has been used by the gay rights movement to draw attention to hate crimes and inspire action.
  • As more information about the case emerges, the accuracy of some details is disputed—does this affect how it is or can be used in framing?
  • Finally, “do movements with more resources frame their issues more effectively?”

Framing = Propaganda? –dpales/David

  • The FrameWorks Institute’s approach represents no more than client recruitment in a nonprofit, “true believer” format.
  • Highlights the continuity between how we use the concept of framing today and mechanisms of advertising and propaganda in the past, drawing specifically on cigarette advertising in the mid-twentieth century as a case study.
  • Argues we should consider the role that the polemic nature of movements with “highly defined boundaries” plays in the choice and construction of discursive strategies.

Elitism vs Pluralism vs *** –numeroteca/Pablo

  • Revisiting Sampedro’s article from last week, offers diagrams of the interactions of power, mass media, social movements, and communities within the frameworks of elitism and pluralism.
  • Offers a third diagram to explore a new model for the contemporary world, in which social movements have become active media agents.


One thought on “Week 4 Megablog: Framing & Standing

  1. It is important that we recognize the role of the “true believer” in these exchanges. Thus, the Framework Institute advocates for its position in a role of facilitator/advocate for positions which it considers in the public(s) interest. Conflict arises when opponents adopt the same position. How can two be “right”? This “confersation” is resolved by spin and opinion rather than objective/scientific facts. Resolution of these conflict domains is the role of policy, in the Institute’s model. Thus, we should be somewhat skeptical of discussions which appeal to the authority of opinion, frequently emotionally motivated: fear, happiness, regret, revenge, love, etc. While cigarette advertising hardly arises from a social movement, it did attempt to create one — now largely “dead” — of “true believers” whose elected addiction and inflict economic damage through their willfully ignorant demand for health care, for which we all pay for in the end. The other manipulation of facts and opinion is the cold war anti-war movement influence sponsored by Soviet interests in the USA. This was a movement. In the opinion of some, it was a “dangerous” movement because it merged real military conflict with the power of social movements. I hope our studies help us to distinguish these historic developments as a way to understand present and future social movements.

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