Construction of the Frames
In this chapter we look at how political actors craft their messages in terms of framing. Frames are ‘central organizing ideas that provide coherence to a designated set of idea elements’ (Ferree et al. 2002: 105). A frame is like ‘a picture frame, it puts a border around something, distinguishing it from what is around it’; it is a ‘spotlight’ that attracts our attention to certain aspects of an issue, and directs it away from other aspects (Gamson 2004: 245). According to Entman’s (1993: 52) influential definition, to frame is to selectively emphasize/evaluate certain aspects of a perceived reality and to make them more salient, ‘in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described’. In other words, to frame is to actively construct the meaning of the reality in question. For instance, in the case of capital punishment, the issue can be defined in terms of ‘innocence frame’ that accentuates imperfections in the justice system, or in terms of the ‘morality-based frame’ that focuses on the question whether it is right or wrong to kill when punishing (Dardis et al. 2008; Baumgartner et al. 2008). In strategic framing just as in any kind of strategic action, there are as Jasper (2006: 171) points out, ‘few rules... but many choices’.
KeywordsPolitical Actor Asylum Seeker Personal Attack Frame Construction Valence Advantage
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