Frames and Their Consequences

Francesca Polletta and M. Kai Ho

in The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199270439
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

 Frames and Their Consequences

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  • Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Methodology


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This article looks at the relevance of the so-called frames in political analysis. It explains that frames matter and it can be seen in the ways in which political actors package their messages to affect their ability to recruit adherents, gain favorable media coverage, demobilize antagonists, and win political victories. The article traces the emergence of the concepts of frame and framing in the sociology of social movements in the 1980s and discusses the pioneering works of William Gamson and David Snow. Gamson and Snow adopted Erving Goffman's interactive perspective that frames are jointly and continuously constructed and reconstructed by movement actors and their audiences. This article also highlights the role of familiar relationships, routine practices, and institutionalized rules, both in spawning frames and in limiting their reach.

Keywords: frames; political analysis; political actors; social movements; William Gamson; David Snow; Erving Goffman; familiar relationships; routine practices; institutionalized rules

Article.  10357 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Methodology

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