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  • Framing Processes and Social Movements: An Overview and AssessmentAuthor(s): Robert D. Benford and David A. SnowSource: Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 26 (2000), pp. 611-639Published by: Annual ReviewsStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/223459 .Accessed: 07/09/2011 22:51Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspJSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Annual Reviews is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Annual Review of Sociology.http://www.jstor.org
  • Annu. Rev. Sociol. 2000. 26:611-39 Copyright(?) 2000 by AnnualReviews. All rightsreservedFRAMING PROCESSESAND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS:An Overview and Assessment RobertD. Benford Departmentof Sociology, Universityof Nebraska,Lincoln, Nebraska68588-0324; e-mail: Rbenfordl@unl.edu David A. Snow Departmentof Sociology, Universityof Arizona, Tucson,Arizona 85721; e-mail: snowd@u.arizona.edu Key Words social movements, frame, collective action, reality construction, culture * Abstract The recent proliferation of scholarship on collective action frames and framing processes in relation to social movements indicates that framing processes have come to be regarded, alongside resource mobilization and political opportunity processes, as a central dynamic in understanding the character and course of social movements. This review examines the analytic utility of the framing literaturefor un- derstanding social movement dynamics. We first review how collective action frames have been conceptualized, including their characteristicand variable features. We then examine the literature related to framing dynamics and processes. Next we review the literatureregarding various contextual factors that constrain and facilitate framing processes. We conclude with an elaboration of the consequences of framing processes for other movement processes and outcomes. We seek throughout to provide clarifi- cation of the linkages between framing concepts/processes and other conceptual and theoretical formulations relevant to social movements, such as schemas and ideology.INTRODUCTION The concept of frame has considerable currency in the social sciences today. Ref- erences to it, for both descriptive and analytic purposes, and to the more fluid conception of framing processes can be readily found in psychology, particularly cognitive psychology (Bateson 1972, Tversky & Kahneman 1981), linguistics and discourse analysis (Tannen 1993, Van Dijk 1977), communication and media studies (Pan & Kosicki 1993, Scheufele 1999), and political science and policy studies (Schon & Rein 1994, Triandafyllidou & Fotiou 1998). The frame concept and kindred processes have been applied analytically and explored empirically in sociology as well, probably more so than in other areas because of the influence of Goffmans (1974) book on the topic.0360-0572/00/0815-0611$14.00 611
  • 612 BENFORD * SNOW Within sociology, not only has the framingconcept been applied most exten- sively to the substantivestudy of social movements and collective action, but interestin framingprocesses in relationto the operationof social movementshas animatedan increasingamountof conceptualandempiricalscholarship.Evidence of this trendcan be found(a) in recenteditedvolumesbasedon paperspresentedat social movementconferences(Johnston& Klandermans 1995, Larafia al 1994, et McAdamet al 1996, Morris& Mueller 1992); (b) in the almost meteoricincrease in articles,chapters,and papersreferringto the framing/movement link since the mid-1980s, from only one such reference in the Sociological Abstracts in 1986 to 43 in 1998, with almost two thirds of the nearly 250 references during this periodoccurringsince 1994; (c) in the parallelpatternof citationsin the threecore conceptualarticles on framingand social movements(Snow et al 1986, Snow & Benford 1988, 1992) beginningwith seven citationsin 1990 andincreasingto 106 in 1998, with more than half of the over 500 citations appearingafter 1995; and (d) in a varietyof recent critiquesfocusing on specific conceptualdimensions of the movementframingliterature(Benford 1997, Fisher 1997, Hart 1996, Jasper 1997, Oliver& Johnston2000, Sherkat1998, Steinberg1998, Williams& Benford 2000) or on its relationshipto otherperspectives(Goodwin& Jasper1999, Meyer 1999). Clearlytherehas been a pronouncedproliferation scholarshipon collec- of tive action frames and framingprocesses in relationto social movementswithin the past decade and a half, so much so, in fact, thatframingprocesses have come to be regarded,alongside resource mobilization and political opportunitypro- cesses, as a centraldynamic in understanding characterand course of social the movements. The purpose of this review is to evaluate this burgeoningliteraturein terms of two general questions. First, does this literaturecongeal or hang togetherin a fashion suggestive of a coherentperspective,or can such a perspectivebe stitched togetherfrom variousstrandsof the literature a way thatadds to a more refined in and integratedunderstanding the relationshipbetween framingprocesses and of the operationof social movements?And second, does this evolving perspective enhance our understanding social movements, casting analytic light on areas of and aspects of the dynamics of social movementsthat other conceptualschemes or perspectiveshave glossed over or ignored altogether?What, in short, can be concluded about the analytic utility of the framing literaturefor understanding the social movementprocesses it seeks to understand illuminate,namely the and generation,diffusion,andfunctionalityof mobilizingandcountermobilizing ideas and meanings? Our approachto addressingthese questions is conceptually and theoreticallydevelopmental, selective in termsof the literature look at most and we closely. Weproceedby organizingthe reviewaroundfourbroadfundamental areas of concernthatrequirebothelaboration synthesisif we areto addressthe above and questions: (a) conceptualizationof collective action frames and delineation of theircharacteristic features;(b) identificationof framingprocesses relevantto the generation,elaboration,anddiffusionof collective actionframes;(c) specification of various socio-culturalcontextual factors that constrainand facilitate framing View slide
  • FRAMINGAND SOCIALMOVEMENTS 613 processes; and (d) elaboration of the consequences or implications of framing processes for other movement processes and outcomes. At various points, we also seek to provide clarification of the linkages between framing concepts and processes and other conceptual and theoretical formulations relevant to social movements, such as ideology. We draw on and evaluate the literature in terms of how it informs one or more of these issues and, in the process, build our answers to the two general questions.COLLECTIVEACTION FRAMES Social movementscholarsinterestedin framingprocessesbegin by takingas prob- lematic what until the mid-1980s the literaturelargely ignored:meaning work- the struggle over the production of mobilizing and countermobilizing ideas and meanings.1 From this perspective, social movements are not viewed merely as carriers of extant ideas and meanings that grow automatically out of structural arrangements, unanticipated events, or existing ideologies.2 Rather, movement actors are viewed as signifying agents actively engaged in the production and maintenance of meaning for constituents, antagonists, and bystanders or observers (Snow & Benford 1988). They are deeply embroiled, along with the media, lo- cal governments, and the state, in what has been referred to as "the politics of signification" (Hall 1982). 1 Althoughreferencesto meanings,beliefs, values, andthe more generalnotion of ideology have been prevalenthistorically in the social movement literature,the treatmentof these concepts generally has been unsatisfactorybecause of two tendencies: either they were discussed descriptivelyand staticallyratherthan analyticallyand dynamically,as in much of the work prior to the 1970s; or they were dismissed as being largely irrelevantto the developmentof social movements,as in the earlyresourcemobilizationliterature (see Snow & Benford 1992:135-36). 2Recent investigations of the link between culture and social movements (Kane 1997, Williams 1995) andframes,ideology, andrelatedconcepts (Fisher 1997, Oliver& Johnston 2000, Zald 1996) have directly or indirectly called for clarificationof the relationshipof framesandideology. Clearlythey arenot one andthe same. Ideology is generallyportrayed as a fairlybroad,coherent,andrelativelydurableset of beliefs thataffects ones orientation not only to politics but to everydaylife more generally.This conceptionholds whetherone subscribesto a more general and neutralview of ideology (e.g. Geertz 1973) or to a more critical view wherein ideology is seen as functioning to sustain existing class structures and relationsof domination(e.g. Thompson 1984). In either case, the referenceis to fairly pervasiveand integratedset of beliefs and values that have considerablestaying power.In contrast,collective actionframesfunctionas innovativeamplifications extensionsof, or and antidotesto, existing ideologies or componentsof them. Accordingly,ideology functionsas both a constraintandresourcein relationto framingprocesses and collective actionframes, a relationshipwe touch upon at several points throughoutthe article. For an elaborated discussion of the relationship between ideology andframing,see Oliver& Johnston(2000), Snow & Benford (2000), and Snow (2000). View slide
  • 614 BENFORD ? SNOWFraming as Meaning Construction Social movement scholars conceptualize this signifying work or meaning con- struction by employing the verb "framing" (Gamson et al 1982, Snow et al 1986, Snow & Benford 1988). This denotes an active, processual phenomenon that im- plies agency and contention at the level of reality construction. It is active in the sense that something is being done, and processual in the sense of a dynamic, evolving process. It entails agency in the sense that what is evolving is the work of social movement organizations or movement activists. And it is contentious in the sense that it involves the generation of interpretive frames that not only differ from existing ones but that may also challenge them. The resultant products of this framing activity are referred to as "collective action frames."Characteristic Features of Collective Action Frames The concept of frame as used in the study of social movements is derived primar- ily from the work of Goffman (1974). For Goffman, frames denoted "schemata of interpretation" that enable individuals "to locate, perceive, identify, and label" occurrences within their life space and the world at large (p. 21). Frames help to render events or occurrences meaningful and thereby function to organize expe- rience and guide action. Collective action frames also perform this interpretive function by simplifying and condensing aspects of the "world out there," but in ways that are "intended to mobilize potential adherents and constituents, to garner bystander support, and to demobilize antagonists" (Snow & Benford 1988:198). Thus, collective action frames are action-oriented sets of beliefs and meanings that inspire and legitimate the activities and campaigns of a social movement organi- zation (SMO). Some scholars (e.g. Johnston 1995, Klandermans 1997, Klandermans et al 1999, Sherkat & Ellison 1997) tend to treat collective action frames in a fashion that is more consistent with psychological concepts such as "schema," thereby overlooking the interactive, constructionist chatacter of movement framing pro- cesses. A crucial feature that distinguishes collective action frames from schema and other related cognitive constructs is that "[c]ollective action frames are not merely aggregations of individual attitudes and perceptions but also the outcome of negotiating shared meaning" (Gamson 1992a: 111). 3The implied distinction between schemas and frames can be stated more concretely by thinkingof schemasas "participants expectationsaboutpeople, objects,events,andsettings in the world, as distinguishedfrom alignmentsbeing negotiatedin particular interaction," whichis whatframesdo (Tannen Wallat1993:60).Framesandschemasinteractduringthe & courseof interaction betweentwo or moreindividuals,with framesprovidingan interpretive "footing" that aligns schemas that participantsto the interactionbring with them. Thus, frames and schemas are not different concepts for the same phenomenabut are highly interactive,with framesconstitutinga broader, interpretiveansweror definitionto "whatis going on" or "shouldbe going on."
  • ANDSOCIAL FRAMING MOVEMENTS 615 Collective action frames are constitutedby two sets of characteristicfeatures:one concerns their action-orientedfunction-an SMOs "core framing tasks"(Snow & Benford 1988); the second refersto the interactive,discursiveprocessesthat attendto these core framingtasks and thus are generativeof collective actionframes (Gamson 1992a, Snow & Benford 1992). We examine the discursivepro-cesses later in the review underthe more general topic of framingprocesses anddynamics.Core Framing Tasks Collective action frames are constructedin partas move-mentadherents negotiatea sharedunderstanding some problematicconditionor ofsituationthey defineas in need of change,makeattributions regardingwho or whatis to blame, articulatean alternativeset of arrangements, urge othersto act in andconcert to affect change. Building on Wilsons (1973) decompositionof ideologyinto three componentparts, Snow & Benford (1988) refer to these core framingtasks as "diagnosticframing"(problemidentificationand attributions), "prognos-tic framing,"and "motivational framing."By pursuingthese core framingtasks,movementactorsattendto the interrelated problemsof "consensusmobilization"and "actionmobilization"(Klandermans 1984). Simply put, the formerfosters orfacilitates agreementwhereas the latter fosters action, moving people from thebalcony to the barricades. To date, scholarshave devoted considerableempiricalattentionto identifyingand analyzing the various types of diagnostic, prognostic, and action mobiliza-tion framings specific movements and their SMOs have constructedand prof-fered (e.g. Benford 1993b, Gerhards& Rucht 1992, Johnson 1997, Marulloet al 1996, McCarthy 1994, Meyer 1995, Nepstad 1997, Weed 1997). Regardingdi-agnostic framing, several case studies focus on the developmentand articulationof what Gamson and colleagues (1982, 1992a,b) refer to as "injusticeframes"(Anheieret al 1998, Cable & Shriver1995, Capek 1993, Carroll& Ratner1996a,b,Klandermans& Goslinga 1996, Klandermans al 1999). A plethoraof studies etcall attentionto the ways in which movements identify the "victims"of a giveninjusticeandamplifytheirvictimization(Benford& Hunt 1992, Best 1987, Capek 1993, Hunt et al 1994, Jasper& Poulsen 1995, Jenness 1995, Weed 1997, White1999). Takentogether,these studies supportGamsonet als (1982) initial concep-tualizationof injusticeframesas a mode of interpretation-prefatoryto collectivenoncompliance,protest, and/orrebellion-generated and adoptedby those whocome to define the actions of an authorityas unjust.While the empiricalevidencereportedin the foregoing studies clearly demonstratesthat injustice frames arecommonplaceacross a varietyof types of social movements,thereis little theoret-ical or empiricalsupportfor Gamsonsmore sweeping assertionthatall "collectiveactionframesareinjusticeframes"(1992b:68, originalemphasis);noris theresup-port for the less ambitious assertion that all collective action frames contain aninjusticecomponent(Gamson 1992a). In the case of manyreligious, self-help, andidentitymovements,for example, it is questionablewhethera well-elaboratedcol-lective action frame need include an injustice component.Nevertheless,injustice
  • 616 BENFORD ? SNOW framesappearto be fairly ubiquitousacross movementsadvocatingsome form of political and/oreconomic change. Since social movementsseek to remedy or alter some problematicsituationor issue, it follows thatdirectedaction is contingenton identificationof the source(s) of causality,blame, and/orculpable agents. This attributional component of di- agnostic framing attends to this function by focusing blame or responsibility. However,consensusregarding sourceof the problemdoes not follow automat- the ically fromagreement regarding natureof theproblem.Controversies the regarding whom or what to blame frequentlyeruptbetween the various SMOs comprising a social movement as well as within movement organizations.In his study of the 1980s nucleardisarmament movement, Benford (1987, 1993a) reportedthat this attributional component of collective action frameswas frequentlythe source of rancorousintramovement conflict, with peace groups divided over whetherto attribute"the most salient cause of the nuclear threat"to a general decline in morality,runawaytechnology, the defense industry,capitalism,an anachronistic geopolitical structure,or the United States, the Soviet Union, or both (Benford 1987:67-74). The importof such attributional processes to collective action had, of course, been notedby a numberof scholarswell before the emergenceof the social move- mentframingperspective(Ferree& Miller 1985, Turner Killian 1972, Zurcher & & Snow 1981). Morerecently,movementtheoristshavecalled attention the ways in to which activistsengage in "boundary framing"(Huntet al 1994:194;also see Silver 1997) and "adversarial framing"(Gamson 1995)-related attributional processes that seek to delineate the boundariesbetween "good" and "evil" and construct movementprotagonistsand antagonists.That movementadversarial framingsare not always effective is well illustratedby recent comparative researchconducted by Klandermanset al (1999) on agrarianmobilizations in the Netherlandsand Spain. They found that many farmerswho had been the targetsof mobilization were not surewhom to hold responsiblefor theiradversesituation.Among Dutch farmerssurveyed,there was a disparitybetween the cognitive and affective com- ponents of their adversarialframes. They blamed their adverse situation on the EuropeanUnion, but directedtheirangerat the Dutchgovernmentor at politics in general. Prognosticframing,the second core framingtask,involves the articulation a of proposedsolutionto the problem,or at least a plan of attack,andthe strategiesfor carryingout the plan. In short,it addressesthe Leninesquequestionof what is to be done, as well as the problemsof consensus and action mobilization.Although this remainsan empiricalquestion,some researchsuggests thattheretendsto be a correspondence between an SMOs diagnostic and prognosticframings(Benford 1987, Gerhards Rucht 1992, Nepstad 1997). In otherwords,the identification & of specific problemsandcauses tends to constrainthe range of possible "reasonable" solutions and strategiesadvocated. Studies have identifiedadditionalconstraintson prognosticframings.As with other framing activities, it is importantto keep in mind that prognostic framing
  • ANDSOCIAL FRAMING MOVEMENTS 617takes place within a multi-organizational field (Evans 1997, Klandermans1992;also see Curtis& Zurcher1973) consisting of variousSMOs constitutinga move-ment industry,their opponents,targetsof influence, media, and bystanders.Thusit is not surprisingthat an SMOs prognostic framing activity typically includesrefutationsof the logic or efficacy of solutions advocatedby opponentsas well asa rationalefor its own remedies.The formerhas been referredto as "counterfram-ing" (Benford 1987:75), a topic we discuss more fully below. The important pointis that opposing framing activity can affect a movements framings, on the onehand,by puttingmovementactivistson the defensive, at least temporarily, and,onthe otherhand, by frequentlyforcing it to develop and elaborateprognoses moreclearlythanotherwisemighthave been the case. In the case of the Chinesedemoc-racy movement (in 1989), for example, studentsaccuratelyanticipatedthe statecounterframingsof the student movement as "counterrevolutionary," "turmoil,"and "upheaval." deflectthese counterframings, studentscarefullyfashioned To theand articulatedreformistprognoses and employed a tactical repertoirethat wasconsistentwith traditional Chinese culturalnarrations communitydevotionand ofself-sacrifice(Zuo & Benford 1995). Case studies reveal that the prognosticdimension is one of the primarywaysin which a movementsSMOs differ from one another.In a study of the US anti-death penalty movement, Haines (1996) observed that the movement eventuallyevolved into two distinctwings: abolitionistsand litigators,the formeradvocatingabolishmentof capital punishmentand the latter focusing on "the more modesttask of saving lives of their clients one by one ratherthan as a class" (p. 118).Althoughthe factionsstill interact,recognizingone anothers indispensability,theydiffer in terms of theirprognosticframingsand the techniquesthey advocateandemploy. Motivationalframing,the final core framingtask, provides a "call to arms"orrationalefor engaging in ameliorativecollective action,includingthe constructionof appropriate vocabulariesof motive. Attendingto this framingtask essentiallyentails the developmentof what Gamson(1995) refersto as the "agency"compo-nent of collective action frames.In a study of the US nucleardisarmament move-ment, Benford (1993b) addressedthis agency issue by identifying four genericvocabulariesof motive thatemergedin the course of interactionamongmovementactivists,rank-and-file supporters, recruits,and significantothers:vocabulariesofseverity,urgency,efficacy, and propriety. These socially constructedvocabulariesprovided adherentswith compelling accounts for engaging in collective actionand for sustainingtheir participation.When adopted and espoused in particularcombinations,and dependingon their relative saliency for the participants, thesefour vocabulariesof motive worked in a contradictoryratherthan complemen-taryfashion. Ironically,activists framingsamplifyingthe severityandurgencyofthe nuclearthreatcontributedto a diminishedsense of efficacy among the framearticulators.However, activists overcame this by constructingan elaboratedvo-cabularyof proprietyor duty.Further researchneeds to specify the conditionsthataffect the constructionand adoptionof variousvocabulariesof motive as well as
  • 618 BENFORD ? SNOW assess their relative impact on social movementparticipation, collective identity processes, and othermovementframingactivities.Variable Features of Collective Action Frames In addition to focusing conceptual and empirical attentionon the characteristic featuresof collective action frames, movement scholarshave also identified and elaborated theirvariablefeatures,includingproblemidentification directionor and locus of attribution; flexibility andrigidity,inclusivityandexclusivity;interpretive scope and influence;and degree of resonance. Problem Identification and Direction/Locus of Attribution The most obvious way in which collective action frames vary is in terms of the problemsor issues addressedandthe corresponding directionof attribution. appearsthatthe bulkof It researchon the link between framingand movementshas focused on this variable feature,yielding a long list of specific types of collective action frames (Benford 1997:414-15). Although we do not question the analyticalutility of identifying andelaborating new types of collective actionframes,this particular focus appears to have yielded diminishingreturnsin terms of contributing the accumulation to of knowledge regardingmovementframingdynamics. A few studieshave attendedcomparatively variationsin problemidentifica- to tion and attributionsacross social movements, SMOs, and/ortime (e.g. Benford & Valadez 1998, Berbrier1998, Ellingson 1995, Evans 1997, Marulloet al 1996, Mooney & Hunt 1996, Taylor 1999). For instance, Gerhards& Rucht (1992) re- porteddifferencesbetween two late-1980s West Germanmobilizationcampaigns with respectto the numberof problemsactivistsidentified.They hypothesizethat the "largerthe range of problemscovered by a frame, the largerthe range of so- cial groupsthat can be addressedwith the frameand the greaterthe mobilization capacityof the frame"(p. 580). They qualify theirhypothesisby suggestingthatit would hold only to the extent thatthe variousproblemscoveredby a framecould be "plausiblyconnectedto one another." Flexibility and Rigidity, Inclusivity and Exclusivity Collective action frames may vary in the degree to which they are relatively exclusive, rigid, inelastic, and restrictedor relativelyinclusive, open, elastic, and elaboratedin terms of the number of themes or ideas they incorporateand articulate.Hypothetically,the more inclusive and flexible collective action frames are, the more likely they are to function as or evolve into "masterframes"(discussedbelow). Variationin InterpretiveScope and Influence The scope of the collective action frames associatedwith most movementsis limited to the interestsof a particular group or to a set of related problems. However, some collective action frames are quite broadin terms of scope, functioningas a kind of masteralgorithmthat colors and constrainsthe orientationsand activitiesof othermovements.We have
  • ANDSOCIAL FRAMING MOVEMENTS 619referredto such generic frames as "masterframes,"in contrastto more commonmovement-specificcollective action frames that may be derivativefrom masterframes (Snow & Benford 1992). We also distinguish the foregoing conceptual-ization of master frames from anothercommon usage of the term as an SMOsgeneral,central,or primaryframe(Gerhards Rucht 1992, Johnston1991, Meyer &1995, Voss 1996). This type of collective actionframewould seem to be moreaptlyreferredto as an "organizational frame"(Evans 1997:454) or a movement-specificframe.Justbecause a particular SMO develops a primaryframethatcontributes tosuccessful mobilizationdoes not mean that that frame would have similarutilityfor other movements or SMOs. Only a handful of collective action frames havebeen identifiedas being sufficientlybroadin interpretive scope, inclusivity,flexi-bility, andculturalresonanceto functionas masterframes,includingrightsframes(Valocchi 1996, Williams & Williams 1995), choice frames (Davies 1999), injus-tice frames (Carroll& Ratner1996a,b,Gamsonet al 1982), environmental justiceframes (Cable & Shriver 1995, Capek 1993), culturallypluralistframes (Berbier1998, Davies 1999), sexualterrorism frames(Jenness& Broad 1994), oppositionalframes (Blum-Kulka& Liebes 1993, Coy & Woehrle 1996), hegemonic frames(Blum-Kulka& Liebes 1993), anda "return Democracy"frame(Noonan 1995). toNoonans studyof the mobilizationof women againstthe state in Chile illustratesthe importanceof both flexibility and inclusivity with respect to variationin themobilizingpotencyof masterframesandtheirrelationship specific social move- toments and their collective action frames. She found, for example, that while theleftist masterframeof the 1950s and 1960s was not as robustas it mighthave beenbecause it focused only on working class issues and did not accommodatefemi-nism, its subsequentrepressionandthe eventualemergenceof the moreelaboratedand inclusive "return democracy"masterframe in the 1980s createdspace for toa variety of movement-specificframes, including feminism. Such findings showthat master frames may indeed vary in terms of how inclusive and flexible theyare, and thus in theirinterpretive scope, and thatthis variabilitycan affect the mo-bilization of some aggrievedgroupsin comparisonto others.Accordingto Swart(1995), frames that have been adopted by two or more distinctive movements,and thus function as masterframes,exist not only because of the aforementionedqualities but also because they are "culturally resonantto their historicalmilieu"(p. 446).Resonance The fourthmajorway in which collective actionframescan varyis intermsof the degree of resonance.The concept of resonanceis relevantto the issueof the effectivenessor mobilizingpotencyof profferedframings,therebyattendingto the question of why some framings seem to be effective or "resonate"whileothersdo not (Snow & Benford 1988). Two sets of interactingfactorsaccountforvariationin degree of frame resonance:credibilityof the profferedframe and itsrelative salience. The credibilityof any framingis a functionof threefactors:frameconsistency,empiricalcredibility,and credibilityof the frame articulators claimsmakers.A or
  • 620 BENFORD ? SNOW frames consistency refers to the congruencybetween an SMOs articulatedbe- liefs, claims, and actions. Thus, inconsistencycan manifestitself in two ways: in terms of apparentcontradictionsamong beliefs or claims; and in terms of per- ceived contradictionsamong framings and tactical actions (as between what the SMO says and what it does). Hypothetically,the greater and more transparent the apparentcontradictionsin either realm, the less resonantthe profferedfram- ing(s) and the moreproblematicthe mobilization.To date, little researchhas been conducted on this frame resonancefactor, althoughthere are some hints of it in the literature.Zuo & Benford (1995) found that one factor that contributedto the rapid mass mobilization of ordinaryChinese citizens in 1989 was the per- ceived consistency between what the student activists asserted in their public framings and their behavior at TiananmenSquare compared with the apparent inconsistencies between what state elites claimed and their actual policies. In a studyof Operation Rescue (an "antiabortion rights"organization), Johnson(1997) found thatinconsistenciesbetween the groupsframingsregardingnonviolentdi- rect action and their tactical actions, which violate traditionaltenets of nonvio- lent philosophy,have created inconsistencies that mute the prospect of broader support. A second factor affecting frame resonancehas to do with the empiricalcred- ibility of the collective action frame. This refers to the apparentfit between the framings and events in the world. The issue here is not whetherdiagnostic and prognosticclaims are actually factual or valid, but whethertheir empiricalrefer- ents lend themselves to being read as "real"indicatorsof the diagnostic claims (Snow & Benford 1988; but see Gamson 1992b). Can the claims be empirically verified?Is there something out there that can be pointed to as evidence of the claim embedded in the framing?Hypothetically,the more culturallybelievable the claimed evidence, and the greaterthe numberof slices of such evidence, the more credible the framingand the broaderits appeal. The importantpoint is not that the claimed connection has to be generally believable, but that it must be believable to some segment of prospectiveor actualadherents.A prime example of this was illustratedin the case of the Heavens Gate "cult,"whose members committedmass suicide predicatedon the belief thattrailingbehinda comet was a spacecraftin which they would ascendto heaven(Maniscalco1997). In the case of the more broad-basedChinese democracymovement,studentactivists were able to point to the political reformsin the Soviet Union underGorbachevas evidence that calls for similar reforms in the Peoples Republic were within the realm of possibility (Zuo & Benford 1995). While these examples suffice to lend supportto Jasper& Poulsens (1995:496) assertionthat "empiricalcredibilityis in the eyes of the beholder," also is the case thatthe difficultiessome movementsexperience it in expandingtheirranksis likely to be due in partto the empiricalincredibilityof theirframingsto more than a small cadreof people. The final factor affecting the credibilityof a collective action frame has to do with the perceived credibility of frame articulators. is a well-establishedfact It in the social psychology of communicationthat speakers who are regardedas
  • ANDSOCIAL FRAMING MOVEMENTS 621more credible are generally more persuasive (Hovland & Weiss 1951, Aronson& Golden 1962). Variablessuch as statusand knowledge aboutthe issue in ques-tion have been found to be associated with persuasiveness(Hass 1981, McGuire1985). Hypothetically,the greater the status and/or perceived expertise of theframe articulator and/orthe organizationthey representfrom the vantagepoint ofpotentialadherentsand constituents,the moreplausibleandresonantthe framingsor claims. In his study of the nuclear disarmamentmovement, Benford (1987)observed that peace groups would enlist former members of the defense estab-lishment, such as AdmiralEugene Carroll,Daniel Ellsberg, and John Stockwell,to speak at rallies and press conferences so as to enhancethe apparentcredibilityof the movements claims. In a related vein, Coy & Woehrle (1996) reportthatduring the Persian Gulf War,peace movement activists frequentlyengaged in a"credentialing process"wherebythey would highlightthe credentialsof the orga-nizations they represented. In additionto issues of credibility,the resonance of a collective action frameis affectedby its salience to targetsof mobilization.Threedimensionsof saliencehave been identified:centrality,experientialcommensurability, and narrativefi-delity (Snow & Benford 1988). Centrality to do with how essentialthe beliefs, hasvalues, and ideas associatedwith movementframes are to the lives of the targetsof mobilization.Research on values and beliefs indicates that they are typicallyarrayedin a hierarchy(Rokeach 1973, Williams 1970). Hypothetically,the morecentral or salient the espoused beliefs, ideas, and values of a movement to thetargetsof mobilization,the greaterthe probabilityof their mobilization.Sherkat& Ellisons (1997) examinationof conservativeProtestants organizedoppositionto pornographyprovides indirect supportfor this proposition.And althoughtheliteraturelacks a direct test of the relativeimportanceof this variableto success-ful mobilization,a few studies appearto confirmit (e.g. Carroll& Ratner1996a,Donovan 1995, Evans 1997). Experientialcommensurabilityconstitutes a second factor contributingto acollective action frames salience. Are movementframingscongruentor resonantwith the personal,everydayexperiencesof the targetsof mobilization?Or are theframings too abstractand distant from the lives and experiences of the targets?Hypothetically,the more experientiallycommensuratethe framings, the greatertheirsalience, andthe greaterthe probabilityof mobilization.This propositionhasreceived supportfrom both activists (e.g. Alinsky 1971) and researchers(Babb 1996, Erwin 1993, Zuo & Benford 1995). For instance, Czech womens experi-ences in the 1980s understate socialism appearto have undermined resonance theof feminist framingsin post-CommunistCzech Republic in the 1990s. Heitlinger(1996:83) explains: The conflict between the demandsof home and work, the stress and exhaustioncaused by excessive obligations,as well as the discrimination againstwomen in the workplace,led many to reject the goal of womens equality itself. These attitudeswere reinforcedby the fact that womens
  • 622 ? BENFORD SNOW paid employmentwere chosen as goals not by women themselves but were imposed on them by the unpopularcommunistparty-state. Heitlingersstudy is also methodologicallyinstructivefor movementframingre- searchersbecause it constitutesone of the few studiesthatexamines the failureof framingattempts. The last factor that appearsto have significantimpact on frame resonance is narrative fidelity.To whatextentarethe profferedframingsculturallyresonant? To whatextentdo theyresonatewith the targetsculturalnarrations, whatCampbell or (1988) would call its "myths,"Gouldner(1970) its "domainassumptions,"and Rude (1980) "inherentideology" in contrast to its "derivedideology"? When such correspondenceexists, framingscan be said to have what has been termed "narrative the fidelity"(Fisher 1984). Hypothetically, greaterthe narrative fidelity of the profferedframings,the greatertheir salience and the greaterthe prospectof mobilization. The importanceto mobilization of constructingcollective action frames that have narrativefidelity-or "culturalresonance,"the preferredterm of several movement framing researchers-has been confirmed by a plethora of studies across a wide arrayof social movements,includingthe CentralAmericanrefugee sanctuarymovement (Park 1998), the contemporarywhite separatistmovement (Berbrier 1998), the liturgical movement in the Vatican II Catholic church (McCallion& Maines 1999), a US antitoxics/incinerator movement(Kubal1998), the eighteenth-century slavery abolitionistmovement in GreatBritain (DAnjou & VanMale 1998), andthe aforementioned womens movementin Chile (Noonan 1995) and democracy movement in China (Zuo & Benford 1995). By contrast, Valocchi (1996) found that the civil rights movements "rightsframe" and the associated integrationistideology emerged from internalbattles not over which of the competing frames engendered the greatest cultural resonance but rather from materialistand political considerationsregarding"who controlled impor- tant sources of funding, which organizationwas able to court favor with polit- ical elites, and which organizationswere actively repressed by those political elites" (p. 126). Takentogether,the foregoing studies appearto address the fre- quently repeatedcriticism of movement framing researchfor its failure to take seriously the constraintsthat "cultureout there" imposes on social movement framing activity (e.g. Hart 1996, Jasper 1997, Swidler 1995, Williams & Kubal 1999).FRAMING PROCESSES AND DYNAMICS We now turn to a selective review of the literatureon framing processes and dynamics.We begin by examiningthe processes associatedwith the development, generation,and elaborationof collective action frames,and then we examinehow frames are diffused across movements,cultures,and time.
  • ANDSOCIAL FRAMING MOVEMENTS 623FrameDevelopment, Generation,and Elaboration Hart(1996), among others (Fine 1995, Johnston 1995, Steinberg 1998), has cor- rectlynotedthat,beyondexamininghow activistsselect "framecharacteristics that will be appealingto potentialparticipants," little is known abouthow "framesget made"(Hart 1996:95). The literaturenow appearsto offer extensive insights into a numberof the processes associatedwith framedevelopmentandinnovation(e.g. Cable & Shriver1995, Capek 1993, Gamson 1992a, Gamsonet al 1982, Johnston & Snow 1998, Kubal 1998, Neuman 1998, Triandafyllidou Fotiou 1998, White & 1999, Zdravomyslova1996; DA Snow & J Miller, unpublisheddata). What this literaturesuggests is that frames are developed, generated,and elaboratedon not only via attendingto the threecore framingtasksdiscussed above,but also by way of three sets of overlappingprocesses that can be conceptualizedas discursive, strategic,and contested. Discursive Processes Discursiveprocesses referto the talk andconversations- the speech acts-and writtencommunicationsof movementmembersthat occur primarilyin the contextof, or in relationto, movementactivities.Collective action frames are generatedby two basic interactive,discursiveprocesses: frame artic- ulation and frame amplificationor punctuation.Frame articulationinvolves the connectionand alignmentof events andexperiencesso thatthey hangtogetherin a relativelyunifiedand compelling fashion. Slices of observed,experienced,and/or recorded"reality"are assembled, collated, and packaged. What gives the resul- tant collective action frame its novelty is not so much the originalityor newness of its ideationalelements, but the mannerin which they are spliced togetherand articulated,such thata new angle of vision, vantagepoint, and/orinterpretation is provided. The frame amplificationprocess involves accenting and highlightingsome is- sues, events, or beliefs as being more salient than others. These punctuatedor accented elements may function in service of the articulationprocess by provid- ing a conceptualhandle or peg for linking togethervarious events and issues. In operatingin this fashion, these punctuatedissues, beliefs, and events may func- tion much like synecdoches,bringinginto sharprelief and symbolizingthe larger frameor movementof which it is a part.Movementslogans such as "Liberte, Fra- temite, Egalilte,""Powerto the People,""WeShall Overcome,"and "Homeless, Not Helpless"illustratethis function. There are few studies of these processes. One such exception is Gamsons study (1992a) of how ordinarypeople discuss and frame political ideas in the context of focus groups. Anotheris the ethnographicexamination(DA Snow & J Miller,unpublished data)of how the discursiveprocesses of framearticulationand amplificationhave contributed the development,elaboration,and maintenance to of a numberof overlappingcollective action frames within a radical,right-wing group in Arizona. This researchindicates that collective action frames are con- tinuously reconstitutedduringthe course of interactionthat occurs in the context
  • 624 BENFORD ? SNOW of movement gatheringsand campaigns, and that the key to understandingthe evolution of frames resides in the articulationand amplificationprocesses rather than in the topics or issues comprising the frames. The problem with such re- search is that it is highly labor intensive, requiringnot only fieldworkover time but access to and retrievalof the discourse that is partand parcel of the framing process. Strategic Processes Much more empirical attention has been devoted to the strategicprocesses associated with social movement framing. By strategicpro- cesses, we refer to framing processes that are deliberative,utilitarian,and goal directed:Frames are developed and deployed to achieve a specific purpose-to recruitnew members, to mobilize adherents,to acquireresources, and so forth. Strategicefforts by social movement organizationsto link their interestsand in- terpretiveframeswith those of prospectiveconstituentsand actualor prospective resourceproviderswere initially conceptualizedas "framealignmentprocesses" (Snow et al 1986). Four basic alignmentprocesses have been identified and re- searched:framebridging,frame amplification,frameextension, and frame trans- formation. Framebridgingrefersto the linkingof two or moreideologically congruentbut structurallyunconnectedframesregardinga particular issue or problem.Bridging can occur between a movement and individuals,throughthe linkage of a move- ment organizationwith an unmobilizedsentimentpool or public opinion cluster, or across social movements. Although there has been little systematic focus on this frame alignmentstrategy,we suspect thatthis is among the most prevalentof framing strategies.McCallion & Maines (1999) reportthat the liturgical move- ment withinthe CatholicChurchrelied extensivelyon framebridgingby using the Catholic academic world to link sentimentpools of lay professionals and clergy to the liturgical renewal movement. Gerhards& Rucht (1992) found that West Germanactivists mobilizing againstthe WorldBank and the Internationcl Mone- tary Fundsuccessfullybridgedtheirframeswith those of peace, ecology, womens, neighborhood,and labormovementgroups. Frameamplificationinvolves the idealization,embellishment,clarification,or invigorationof existing values or beliefs. Given that one of the key factors af- fecting whetheror not a profferedframeresonateswith potentialconstituentshas to do with the extent to which the frame taps into existing cultural values, be- liefs, narratives,folk wisdom, and the like, it is not surprisingto find that most movementsseek to amplify extantbeliefs and values (McCallion& Maines 1999, Park 1998, Reese 1996, Skillington 1997, Weed 1997, Williams 1995, Zuo & Benford 1995). And while frameamplificationseems to be deemed necessaryfor most movementmobilizations,it appearsto be particularly relevantto movements reliant on conscience constitutentswho are strikinglydifferent from the move- ment beneficiaries(Paulsen & Glumm 1995) and to movements that have been stigmatizedbecause their beliefs and/orvalues contradictthe dominantcultures core values (Berbrier1998). In the case of the latter,Berbriers(1998) analysis
  • ANDSOCIAL FRAMING MOVEMENTS 625of "new racist"rhetoricrevealedthat contemporary white separatistsemployed ahost of frame amplificationtactics in an attemptto transformthe stigma of whitesupremacy deploying"ethnicaffectations" by suchas "love,""pride," "heritage andpreservation." Frameextensionentailsdepictingan SMOs interestsandframe(s)as extendingbeyond its primaryintereststo includeissues andconcernsthatarepresumedto beof importanceto potentialadherents.Empiricalexaminationsof frame extensionindicate that althoughmovements often employ this alignment strategy(Carroll& Ratner 1996b, Davies 1999), it is subject to various hazardsand constraints.McCallion & Maines (1999) and Benford(1993a) reportthatframeextension ac-tivities spawnedincreases in intramural conflicts and disputes within movementsregarding issues of ideological "purity,"efficiency, and "turf." their historical Inanalysis of the AmericanFederationof Labor(1881-1955), Cornfield& Fletcher(1998) conclude that the "actionsof institutionalactors in the marketand polityseemed to constrainand compel the AFL to extend its frame among potentialad-herents"(p. 1317). Babbs (1996) study of the US labor movement (1866-1886)demonstrateshow a movements constituentscan extend the movements frame,which in turn"canlead to instabilityin the movement"when the extendedframeturnsout to be "unpalatable movementleaders"(p. 1046). These studiesserveto tounderscorethe fact thatmovementframingprocesses arefrequentlycontestedandnegotiatedprocesses, not always underthe tight control of movement elites, andthat employing a particularalignmentstrategydoes not always yield the desiredresults. Frame transformation, final strategic alignment process, refers to chang- theing old understandings meaningsand/orgeneratingnew ones. Few movement andstudiesdeal explicitlywith this formof framealignment.Onerecentnotableexcep-tion is Whites (1999) participantobservationstudyof a Black feministcollectivesattempts to overturnvariousracist and sexist myths regardingrape, and to trans-form public understanding the seriousnessof rape,especially within an African ofAmericancommunity.In additionto constructing powerfulandcompellingcoun- aterdiagnosis of the problemof sexual assault,the collective "counteredrapemythswith FBI statistics and social science research in an attemptto lend empiricalcredibility to [their]frametranformation efforts"(p. 86).ContestedProcesses Thereis widespreadagreementamongmovementframingresearchersthatthe development,generation,and elaborationof collective actionframes are contested processes. All actors within the collective action arenawhoengage in this reality constructionwork are embroiledin the politics of significa-tion. This meansthatactivistsarenot able to constructandimpose on theirintendedtargets any version of reality they would like; ratherthere are a variety of chal-lenges confrontingall those who engage in movementframingactivities.Thus farthe literature elaborateson threeforms these challengestend to take:counterfram-ing by movement opponents, bystanders,and the media; frame disputes withinmovements;and the dialectic between frames and events.
  • 626 BENFORD ? SNOW The very existence of a social movement indicates differences within a soci- ety regardingthe meaningof some aspect of reality (Benford 1993a). Those who oppose the changes advocatedby a movement sometimes publicly challenge the movementsdiagnostic and prognosticframings.Attempts"to rebut,undermine, or neutralizea personsor groupsmyths,versionsof reality,or interpretive frame- work" have been referredto as counterframing (Benford 1987:75). Opponents in counterframes, turn,often spawnreframingactivityby the movement:attempts "towardoff, contain,limit, orreversepotentialdamageto the movementsprevious claims or attributes" (Benford& Hunt1994). Such square-offs betweenmovements and theirdetractors have been referredto as "framingcontests"(Ryan 1991). Although the literatureis replete with referencesto and descriptionsof coun- terframingtactics (Benford & Hunt 1994, Freudenberg& Gramling 1994, Zuo & Benford 1995) and framing contests (Coles 1998, Davies 1999, Krogman 1996, Neuman 1998, Williams 1995), these studies fail to shed much light on the factors that tend to shape the outcomes of such contests, other than stat- ing or implying the tautology that those who won employed the most resonant framings. One thing we do know, however, is that these framing contests oc- cur within complex, multi-organizational-and sometimes multi-institutional- arenas (McAdam 1996, Meyer 1995), that movement actors often take this fact into account (Ellingson 1995, Evans 1997), and that social movement framing activity and the extent of its resonance are affected by the cultural and polit- ical environment,including the framings/counterframings institutionalelites of (McAdam 1996). Perhapsthe most well-studiedtopic relatedto counterframing/framing contests is the subject of movements and media framing. Indeed, how the mass media framedmovementsof the 1960s was the firsttopic researched scholarsdrawing by on the framingconcept (Gitlin 1977, 1980, Tuchman1978). Since this topic has recently been the subject of extensive reviews (Gamson et al 1992, Gamson & Wolsfeld 1993, Ryan 1991, Scheufele 1999), we do not reviewthatliterature here. Sufficeit to say,in the presentcontextof contestedmeanings,thatsocial movement activistsrarelyexercisemuchcontroloverthe "stories" mediaorganizationschoose to cover (Entman Rojecki 1993, McCarthy al 1996) orhow the mediarepresent & et the activists claims (Baylor 1996, Gamson & Modigliani 1989, Klandermans & Goslinga 1996). Framing contests not only take place between movements and their oppo- nents, they can also occur internally. Following Goffmans(1974) use of the term, Benford(1993a) referred intramovement to disagreements regarding diagnosesand prognoses as "framedisputes." These are essentiallydisputesover reality(present or projected).A thirdtype of dispute, referredto as "frameresonancedisputes," entails disagreementsregarding"how reality should be presentedso as to max- imize mobilization"(Benford 1993a:691). Analyzing disputes within the Austin (Texas)nucleardisarmament movement,Benfordfoundthatframedisputeswere a pervasiveaspect of the movementsdynamics, shapingthe movementsstructure, interorganizational relations, and collective identity construction.He concluded
  • ANDSOCIAL FRAMING MOVEMENTS 627 that the intramural conflicts were both detrimentaland facilitativeof movements and their SMOs. Otherscholarshave reportedsimilarfindingswithin the US anti- death penalty movement (Haines 1996), the 1920s Ku Klux Klan (Jessup 1997), a Black feminist collective (White 1999), and the US labor movement (Clemens 1996). The finalway in which movementframingscan be contested,andthusmodified or transformed, concernsthe dialectictensionbetweencollective actionframesand collective action events. This dynamic was well illustratedby Ellingsons (1995) analysisof public discourseandriots aboutabolitionismin antebellumCincinnati. He found thatinitial framingshelped to legitimateand make possible some forms of action and, conversely,how collective action transformed meaning and the the structure the discourse,therebylimiting subsequentopportunities collective of for action. Thus the discourse affects the events which, in turn, "... may change the underlyingideas or beliefs that make up the discourses and frames used by movementactors,resignify which set of collective beliefs are salient, and alterthe meaningof actorsinterests-all of which affectthe powerof a particular discourse or frame"(Ellison 1995:136). Ellingsons analysis suggests the need to develop a more complex model of the relationshipbetween collective action frames and collective action thanhas traditionallybeen assumed.Frame Diffusion Thus far we have examinedthe literature concerningthe discursive,strategic,and contestedprocesses associatedwith the development,generation,and elaboration of collective action frames. We now turnto the role of framingin diffusion pro- cesses. How do movement ideas, collective action frames, and practices spread from one movementto another,and from one cultureto another?How do framing processes affect the diffusionof movementbeliefs, objects,andpractices?Extrap- olating from recent theorizingon cross-nationaldiffusion in the social movement arena(Snow & Benford1999), framingactivityis mostrelevantto social movement diffusion processes when only one partyin the process-either the transmitter or the adopter-takes an activerole in the process, or when the conditionsof similar- ity or compatibilitybetween transmitters potentialadoptersare not given but and are problematicand in need of construction.When these conditions are present, there are two ideal types of social movement diffusion processes in which the objects of diffusion-whether culturalideas, items, or practices-are framedso as to enhancethe prospectof theirresonancewith the host or targetculture:strategic selection or adaptation strategicfittingor accommodation.Strategicselection and encompassessituationsin which thereis intentionalcross-cultural borrowing,with the adopteror importerassumingthe role of an activeagentin the process, strategi- cally selecting and adaptingthe borroweditem to the new host context or culture. Strategicfittingencompassessituationsin which thereis intentionalcross-cultural promotion,with the transmitter actively engagedin tailoringand fittingthe objects or practicesof diffusion to the host culture.
  • 628 BENFORD ? SNOW To date, few movement framing scholars have considered diffusion issues. Jenness& Broad(1994) andJenness (1995) examinedhow the gay/lesbianmove- ment strategicallyselected andadaptedcollective actionframesfromthe womens movementconcerning"sexualterrorism" orderto define violence againstgays/ in lesbians as a social problem. Borrowingthe assertionfrom the womens move- ment that"all women are at risk at all times,"the movements"educational efforts and street patrols underscorethe notion that gays and lesbians-as well as any one presumedto be gay or lesbian-are at risk at all times" (Jenness & Broad 1994:417).CONTEXTUAL CONSTRAINTS AND FACILITATION Taken together,researchon the core framing processes indicates that collective action frames are not static, reified entities but are continuously being consti- tuted, contested, reproduced,transformed,and/or replaced during the course of social movement activity. Hence, framing is a dynamic, ongoing process. But this process does not occur in a structuralor culturalvacuum. Rather,framing processes are affected by a numberof elements of the socio-culturalcontext in which they are embedded.Although hypotheticallyany numberof such factors might affect framingprocesses and the characterand continuityof the resultant frames, the literaturepoints to three factorsthat are particularlyimportant: polit- ical opportunitystructure,culturalopportunities constraints,and the targeted and audiences.Political Opportunity Structure One of the major foci of social movement researchand theory over the past 25 years has concernedthe relationshipbetween changes in the structure political of opportunities, especially changes in the institutionalstructure and/orinformalre- lations of a political system, and movement mobilization(McAdam et al 1996). The movementframingliteraturehas also attendedto such macro factors by in- vestigatinghow political opportunitystructures constrainand facilitatecollective action frames (Anheier et al 1998, Benford & Valadez 1998, Evans 1997, Flam 1996, Johnston& Snow 1998, Marulloet al 1996). In their historicalanalysis of agrarianmobilizationin the United States, for example, Mooney & Hunt (1996) foundthat some agrarian masterframes, such as "agrarian fundamentalism," con- tained logical structuresand fidelity qualities that contributedto their sustained resonance,even duringtimes of contractingpolitical opportunities, contrastto in the "competitivecapitalism"and "producer" masterframes that were subjectto declining resonance among farmersas the agrarianeconomy changed. Thus, for some frames, changes in materialconditions led to changes in frame resonance, which in turn led to reframing;for other frames, they found continuity across severaldecades of agrarian mobilizations.
  • ANDSOCIAL FRAMING MOVEMENTS 629CulturalOpportunities and Constraints Just as the political opportunitystructureconstrains and facilitates movement frames and framing activities, so too does the culturalcontext in which move- ment activityis embedded.This is a centralthesis in the work of Jasper(1997) and Goodwin & Jasper(1999), among others.In theircritiqueof political process the- ory, and particularly emphasison political opportunitystructures, its Goodwin & Jasper(1999:48) contendthatthe perspectivesproponentshave erredin incorpo- ratingand privileging"frameanalysis as the preferred form, much less only form, of culturalinquiryfor the studyof social movements"becauseit reifies cultureand ignores the ways in which culture shapes framingprocesses as well as political opportunities.Since we attendedin part to this issue earlierwhen we discussed "narrative fidelity"and "cultural resonance,"here we briefly clarify culturesrole with respectto framingprocesses. The culturalmaterialmost relevantto movementframingprocesses includethe extant stock of meanings,beliefs, ideologies, practices,values, myths, narratives, and the like, all of which can be construedas partof Swidlers metaphorical "tool kit" (1986), and thus which constitutethe culturalresourcebase from which new cultural elements are fashioned, such as innovative collective action frames, as well as the lens throughwhich framingsare interpreted evaluated.From this and perspective, movements are "both consumers of existing culturalmeanings and producers new meanings"(Tarrow of 1992:189).As Tarrow (1998:118) elaborates: Then lessons of the civil rights movementis thatthe symbols of revolt are not drawnlike musty costumes from a culturalcloset and arrayedbefore the public. Nor are new meaningsunrolledout of whole cloth. The costumes of revolt are woven from a blend of inheritedand inventedfibersinto collective action fremes in confrontationwith opponentsand elites. Several recent movement studies lend supportto this conception of the recur- sive relationshipbetween extant culture and movement frames (Berbrier1998, dAnjou 1998, Kubal 1998, Nepstad 1997, Platt & Fraser 1998, Taylor 1999). Davies (1999) analyzed a contemporary movementin Ontariothat had been lob- bying the provincial governmentto fund separatereligious schools. In doing so, they drew on extantframes groundedin traditional culturalvalues and myths and fashioned new frames based on emerging values. Mindful of the changing polit- ical culturalsupporting"multiculturalism," activists reframedreligion as culture in need of protection.But also mindful of the value/mythof individualfreedom to choose, they arguedthat parents should be allowed to choose whether or not their children attendedsecular or religious schools. Fusing "these two frames multiculturalism and school choice-is doubly strategicbecause it allows one to assert the rights of collectivities (to have their culturesaccommodated)and indi- viduals (to demandparticular schools)" (Davies 1999:9). The lessons drawnfrom these studiesarethatchangingculturalresonancesandcollective actionframesre- ciprocallyinfluenceone anotherandthatframingprocesses typicallyreflectwider culturalcontinuitiesand changes.
  • 630 ? BENFORD SNOWAudience Effects It has long been taken as a given in communicationstudies that the targetof the message can affect the form and content of the message. In the social movement arena,activists and targetedaudiencesinteract.Moreover,movementsfind it nec- essary to appealto multipleaudienceswho varyin termsof theirrelativeinterests, values, beliefs, and knowledge, as well as with respect to which of the various movementor countermovement roles they can potentiallyplay. The movementframingliterature suggests thatthe audience(s)targetedare one of the majorcontextualfactorsthathelp explainwhy movementsseek, fromtime to time, to modify their collective action frames. Severalresearchers have observed how factors relevantto the targets of mobilization can precipitateframe trans- formations(Coy & Woehrle 1996, Ellingson 1995, Evans 1997). In his extensive investigationof thecivil rightsmovement,McAdam(1996) notedhow various"ref- erence publics,"including segregationists,the media, the public, and the federal government,affected movementframingactivities. From their study of environ- mentalcontroversiesrelatedto incineratorsettings, Walshet al (1993) concluded that"earlyframingof protestideology to appealto widerpublics(e.g., recyclingvs. NIMBY),maybe moreimportant factorsin determining outcomeof grass-roots the protests in environmental disputes"than various "staticvariablessuch as a host communityssocioeconomic status,its degree of organization, level of discon- its tent ... and the proposedfacilitys size" (pp. 36-37). Following Goffman(1959), other movementscholarshave pointedout how activists adjustframes depending on whetherthe audiencetargetedis in the back or the frontregion(Benford& Hunt 1992, Kubal 1998). Along similar lines, Jasper& Poulsens (1995) researchon the animalrights and anti-nuclearmovementsdemonstrates how differentmech- anisms work to recruit strangersand friends. Such studies clearly indicate that the dynamicrelationship between collective actionframesandaudienceswarrants additionalanalyticalattentionfrom movementresearchers.FRAMING CONSEQUENCES FOR OTHER MOVEMENTPROCESSESAND OUTCOMES Having consideredhow various contextualfactors constrainand facilitate fram- ing processes in the previous section, we now turnto a brief examinationof the consequencesor implicationsof framingprocesses. Ourfocus is not on the effects of framingprocesses with respect to micro- and meso-mobilizationand differen- tial recruitmentand participation. These effects, which have been theorizedand demonstrated empirically,constituteda centralrationalefor this review in the first place. Rather,we examine the effects or consequences of framingprocesses and theirresultantcollective action frames for othermovement-related processes and outcomes. Althoughthis connectioncould be exploredwith respectto almost any aspect of the operationand functioning of social movements, the literature,al- beit somewhat sparse on this topic, mainly addressesthree sets of implications:
  • ANDSOCIAL FRAMING MOVEMENTS 631 one with respect to political opportunity,a second pertainingto individual and collective identity,and the thirdconcerningmovement-specificoutcomes.Framingand Political Opportunity Although political opportunitystructures constrainor facilitatecollective ac- can tion framingprocesses, the degree or extent of political opportunity any society in is seldom, if ever, a clear and easily read structuralentity. Rather,its existence and openness is subject to debate and interpretation can thus be framed by and movement actors as well as by others. In fact, Gamson & Meyer (1996) suggest thatmovementactorsdo this routinely,assertingthat"theframingof political op- portunity ... [a] centralcomponentof collective actionframes"(p. 285). Indeed, is to proffera collective actionframeis to suggest thatan opportunity affect social to change exists, andthatpeople are "potentialagentsof theirown history"(Gamson & Meyer 1996:285). Moreover,if "movementactivistsinterpret political space in ways thatemphasizeopportunity ratherthanconstraint, they may stimulateactions thatchangeopportunity, makingtheiropportunity framea self-fulfillingprophecy" (Gamson& Meyer 1996:287). Dianis (1996) researchon ItalysNorthernLeague lends supportto Gamson & Meyers proposition, as does Goodwin & Jaspers (1999) critiqueof the political opportunity perspective. To arguethatframingprocessesandpoliticalopportunity linkedinteractively are is not to suggest thatpoliticalopportunities purelysocially constructed are entities. It is to argue,however,thatthe extentto which they constrainor facilitatecollective action is partlycontingenton how they are framedby movementactorsas well as others (Koopmans& Duyvendak 1995).Framingand Individual and CollectiveIdentity One of the majorthemes permeatingthe movementliterature recentyears is the in contentionthatan understanding identityprocesses, and particularly of collective identity, is fundamental understanding dynamicsof social movements(e.g. to the Jasper 1997, Melucci 1989, Snow & Oliver 1995, Taylor& Whittier 1992). This recent interest in the connection between identity and movements is stimulated in part not only by the rise of identity-basedmovements duringthe past several decades, but also by the very real, longstandingconnectionbetween identity and movement participation.As Gamson (1992b) has noted regardingthis linkage, "[c]leansed of its assumptionsabout a spoiled or ersatz identity, there is a cen- tral insight that remains. Participationin social movements frequentlyinvolves enlargementof personalidentity for participation and offers fulfillmentand real- ization of the self" (p. 56). While few would arguewith Gamons contention,the question of how partic- ipation precipitatesthe enlargementof personal identity, or the correspondence between individualand collective identities, has not been satisfactorilyanswered by scholars investigatingthis linkage. In exploring this issue, Snow & McAdam (2000) have suggestedthatcollective actionframingprocesses constitutea central mechanismfacilitatingthis linkage.The reasonfor thisis thatidentityconstructions
  • 632 BENFORD ? SNOW are an inherentfeatureof the framingprocess. As Hunt et al (1994) have noted, "notonly do framingprocesses link individualsand groupsideologically but they proffer,buttress,and embellish identities that range from collaborativeto con- flictual"(p. 185). Framingprocesses do this in two ways: at a general level, "by situating or placing relevant sets of actors in time and space and by attributing characteristics them that suggest specifiablerelationshipsand lines of action" to (Hunt et al 1994:185); and, at a more concretelevel, duringthe course of identity talk among adherentsand activists (Hunt & Benford 1994) and other movement activities, such as preparingpress releases and making public pronouncements. Framingprocesses are not the only mechanismthat accounts for the correspon- dencebetweenpersonalandcollective identities,of course,butit canbe arguedboth theoreticallyand empiricallythat it is one of several mechanismsthat facilitates this alignmentandthusthe enlargement personalidentityin movementcontexts. ofFraming and Specific-Movement Outcomes Social movementspresumably emergein orderto advancethe interestsof theirad- herentsor beneficiariesby securingspecifiableobjectivestypicallyconceptualized as outcomes. Researchon this topic has identifiedseveral sets of factors (e.g. or- ganization,tacticaldisruption,andpolitical mediation)thatappearto affect move- ments outcome attainment efforts (see Giugni 1998 for a summary).Although a numberof studieshave suggestedthe importanceof framingprocesses in relation to movementgoal attainment(Capek 1993, Diani 1996, Reese 1996, Walsh et al 1993, Zdravomyslova1996, Zuo & Benford 1995), therehave been few system- atic studies of the actualcontributionof framingprocesses. The one exception is Cress & Snows (2000) investigationof how organizational, tactical,political, and framing variablesinteractand combine to accountfor differencesin the outcomes attained 15 homeless social movementorganizations by activein eight US cities. Of the four sets of independentvariables,robustdiagnosticand/orprognosticframes were found to be the most persistentlypresentcondition across the six pathways leading to the attainment one or more of four differenttypes of outcomes, with of no otherconditionpresentin morethanthreeof the pathways.While a single study such as this hardlydemonstrates of conclusivelythe importance framingprocesses to outcomeattainment movementsin general,it certainlysuggeststhatfor some for movements,framingprocesses are criticalto the attainment desiredoutcomes. of As well, it calls for furtherinvestigationof the relationshipbetween framingpro- cesses and the goal attainment efforts of differentvarietiesof movements.CONCLUSION At the outset we raised two orienting questions. Does the literaturecongeal or hang togetherin a fashion suggestive of a coherent,albeit still evolving, perspec- tive thatcontributesto a more thoroughgoingand integratedunderstanding the of
  • FRAMINGAND SOCIALMOVEMENTS 633 relationshipbetween framingprocesses and the operationof social movements? And does this evolving perspective cast analytic light on aspects of movement dynamics that other perspectives have glossed over or failed to illuminate alto- gether?Based on ourreview and assessmentof the burgeoningliterature social on movementframingprocesses, we thinkthe answerto each questionis affirmative. To assert this is not to claim that there are not unresolvedissues and questions, however. Thus, we conclude with an itemization of a numberof the more glar- ing unresolvedissues and concerns, each of which warrantsfurtherinquiry:the discursive and narrativeprocesses generativeof collective action frames (Fisher 1997, Polletta 1998, Steinberg1998); the relationshipbetween framingand emo- tions (Berbrier1998, Jasper1997);the relationship betweenframingprocessesand movementtypes (Jasper1997, Snow et al 1998); the relationshipbetween collec- tive actionframesandactualcollective action(Ellingson 1995);andmethodologies for investigatingframingprocesses andconductingframeanalysis(Johnston1995, Gerhards1995).ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We gratefullyacknowledgethe researchassistanceprovidedby DebraBozell and JasonMiller,andthe financialsupportprovidedby the Centerfor AdvancedStudy in the BehavioralSciences, where D.A. Snow was a Fellow duringa portionof the period in which this articlewas written. Visit the Annual Reviewshome page at www.AnnualReviews.orgLITERATURE CITEDAlinsky SD. 1971. Rulesfor Radicals:A Prag- protest:the case of AmericanIndianprotest. matic Primer for Realistic Radicals. New Soc. Sci. J. 33:241-55 York:RandomHouse BenfordRD. 1987. Framingactivity,meaning,Anheier HK, NeidhartdtF, Vortkamp 1998. W. and social movementparticipation: the nu- Movementcycles and the Nazi Party:activi- clear disarmamentmovement. PhD thesis. ties of the MunichNSDAP, 1925-1930. Am. Univ. Texas, Austin, 297 pp. Behav.Sci. 41:1262-81 BenfordRD. 1993a. Framedisputeswithin theAronson E, Golden B. 1962. The effect of rel- nucleardisarmament movement.Soc. Forces evant and irrelevantaspects of communica- 71:677-701 torcredibilityon opinionchange.J. Perspect. Benford RD. 1993b. You could be the hun- 30:325-42 dredthmonkey:collective actionframesandBabb S. 1996. A true American system of fi- vocabularies motivewithinthe nucleardis- of nance: frame resonance in the U.S. labor armament movement.Sociol. Q. 34:195-216 movement, 1866 to 1886. Am. Sociol. Rev. Benford RD. 1997. An insiderscritiqueof the 61:1033-52 social movement framing perspective. So-Bateson G. 1972. Steps to an Ecology of the ciol. Inq. 67:409-30 Mind. New York:Ballantine Benford RD, Hunt SA. 1992. Dramaturgy andBaylor T. 1996. Media framing of movement social movements: the social construction
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