By Aliza Luft
Adrien Nemoz was 21 years old when his friends told him in horror that a stained-glass portrait of Marshal Pétain, the French Vichy regime’s authoritarian leader, was hanging in a chapel across the Fourvière Basilica. A tall, imposing Church overlooking Lyon, the Fourvière was seen by many as the moral center of the city. For Nemoz and his peers, it was unconscionable that a tribute to Pétain would hang in this holy place. After all, only several months earlier Pétain had agreed to an armistice with Hitler, resulting in the Nazi occupation of half of France. Something had to be done.
We are familiar with framing effects, and aware that different news media use headlines and content to frame stories differently. Christian Davenport recently explored the issue in some depth in his 2010 book. Over the weekend a very nice illustration of this problem unfolded with respect to the Standing Rock (Sioux) Tribe’s #NoDAPL protests against the North Dakota Access Pipe Line being built by Energy Transfer Partners with the support of the US Army Corps of Engineers North Dakota.
Writing for the Associated Press, James MacPherson (@MacPhersonJA) used the “balanced and objective” passive voice construction so prized by the Western news outlets that grew dominant during the mid 20th Century. Here is an image of his story published by ABC News.
How do I talk about my cause?
Snow, David A., E. Burke Rochford, Steven K. Worden and Robert D. Benford. 1986. “Frame Alignment Processes, Micromobilization, and Movement Participation.” American Sociological Review 51(4):464-81.
Snow, David A. 2004. “Framing Processes, Ideology, and Discursive Fields.” Pp. 380-412 in The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, edited by D. A. Snow, S. A. Soule and H. Kriesi. Oxford: Blackwell Publisher.
David Snow, Robert Benford, Holly McCammon, Lyndi Hewitt, and Scott Fitzgerald. 2014. The Emergence, Development, and Future of the Framing Perspective: 25+ Years Since “Frame Alignment”. Mobilization: An International Quarterly 19(1):23-46
Gustav Brown. 2014. Does Framing Matter? Institutional Constraints on Framing in Two Cases of Intrastate Violence. Mobilization: An International Quarterly 19(2):143-164.
We would like to thank the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for their support of the Youth Activism Project through the Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network.
Climate activism seems to be everywhere: from the wheat fields of Nebraska, to the halls of the United Nations, to university campuses all over the world. The massive People’s Climate March in November, 2014 brought more than 300,000 people to the streets of New York. Big events are also being planned for the next UN climate meeting in Paris, along with continued pressure in capitals, universities, cities, and corporations all over the world.
In my recent book on international climate activism, I argue that one of the big developments in climate activism has been a shift in the way that activists are framing the climate issue. Continue reading
Hollywood star, Leonardo DiCaprio, was in Alberta for a new documentary about the environmental impacts of the oilsands (a.k.a. tar sands). He met with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations who have been protesting against developing the oilsands. DiCaprio is among a host of celebrities speaking out against the oilsands. Others include Desmond Tutu, Neil Young and James Cameron. They join other celebrities who have been vocal opponents of the Keystone pipeline including Mark Ruffalo, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Kevin Bacon.
Proponents of the oilsands and the pipeline, including the Prime Minister’s office, have dismissed celebrity involvement in Alberta’s oil industry. According to Yahoo Canada News, the Prime Minister’s Office has commented in the past about “the energy-demanding lifestyle often afforded to such celebrities” and Tim Moen, leader of the Libertarian Party of Canada, referred to it as celebrity cheap talk demonizing Alberta’s oilsands. Moen told Yahoo Canada News that “The people I take seriously are people who actually create solutions. People that find ways to get cheap clean energy into the hands of people who want it.” Continue reading
In this essay I would like to explore an idea that has been the focus of much of my own research on the collective dynamics of mass violence – that the ways in which collective boundaries are framed by influential state and non-state actors can have significant impacts on the contours of state and non-state repression. Almost 15 years ago, in the wake of massive collective violence in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, Brubaker and Laitin (1998) made a plea for the disaggregation of the monolithic phenomena of “ethnic violence.” They influentially argued that viewing violence as inhering along ethnic lines often ignored the ways in which violence was purposively framed as such, clouding understanding of the heterogeneous causal processes at work within specific cases. Since then, numerous comparative studies have demonstrated the ways in which the framing of conflicts along collective boundaries—be they ethnic, racial, political, and/or religious—can have enormous impacts on the degree of violent repression used by both state and non-state actors (e.g. Gagnon 2004; Hagan and Rymond-Richmond 2009; Oberschall 2000; Owens Forthcoming 2014; Straus 2006; Su 2011). Continue reading
As a follow up to the post I wrote last week about the lack of unambiguous political signifiers, this Washington Post article by Ezra Klein draws attention to two recent pieces, one by Jesse A. Myerson and one by Dylan Matthews. The Myerson piece has been kicking around the internet for a little over a week now, generating a lot of chatter for its progressive economic proposals, including work for all and a universal basic income. The Matthews piece represents a conservative response to Myerson’s five economic proposals.
The kicker, though, as Klein points out, is that Matthews largely suggests the same things, just switching out the language codes to ones associated with conservatism For example, the “jaw-droppingly simple idea of a universal basic income, in which the government would just add a sum sufficient for subsistence to everyone’s bank account every month” in the Myerson piece, becomes “basic income would shrink our bloated government, give people more choices, and break the culture of dependency in our poorest areas” in the Matthews piece. Klein goes on to cite point out that conservatives howled about Myerson’s piece, while those on the left had some choice words for Matthews after his piece came out, despite the ideas in the pieces largely being the same. In other words, the “signification,” so to speak, mattered more than the ideas. How an idea is presented drives how we understand it. Continue reading