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Framing and public controversy

Frank Kupper 2011 Athena Instituut, VU Amsterdam

sometimes, developments in science and technology lead to social controverses

nuclear energy
Efficient Clean Safe Reliable

GMOs
Efficient Reliable Healthy Food problem Knowledge Progress

But: in the Netherlands it failed in the societal discussion

But: in the Netherlands it failed in the societal discussion

pig city
Sustainable initiative Efficient Good for animal welfare Good for the environment

What happens?
What kind of problems are at stake?

What kind of mechanisms play a role?

Innovation is not only a technical issue


But: in the Netherlands it (sort of) failed in the societal discussion

Innovation is also a social issue

Science and Technology enter the Public Sphere


nanotechnology

Why decision-making about science and technology is so difficult

vaccination

great promise
scientific uncertainty
animal environment

moral concern

risks for man


fundamental questions

moral pluralism

does science solve the right problems?


dichotomy between facts and values
values

pluralism
beliefs

traditional, technocratic science politics


the accumulation of objective, certified knowledge provides a final answer to political conflicts

does scientific knowledge solve problems at all?


uncertainty
variability limited knowledge

The definition of a problem

abortion poverty environmental destruction

Why are social controverses so highly resistant to reasoned argument?


Schn and Rein 1994: Frame reflection The positions in a social controversy depend on underlying structures of belief, perception and appreciation

problem

normative standard

--

empirical situation
degree of uncertainty

level of moral diversity

They called these structures frames

both are the result of social action and judgment

The perspectives that actors use to make sense of a complex reality and to guide their actions

It is not how to solve the problem, its how the problem is set
Multiple views result in multiple problem-setting stories. From a problematic situation that is vague and indeterminately complex, each story selects and names different features and relations that become the elements that the story is about. Each story places the selected set of features and relations within the frame of a particular context

Framing is everywhere, all the time


"A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard." -- Martin Luther King, Jr., American civil rights leader, 1967 "[Rioters] are lawbreakers, destroyers of constitutional rights and liberties and ultimately destroyers of a free America." -Lyndon B. Johnson, Am. president, 1965

Assignment write down an example of framing in your own lifeworld write down an example of framing that (may have) caused or complicated political conflict

naming and framing

the process of constructing a specific view of social reality

Example of framing in a S&T controversy Animal biotechnology


mouse with extra dna sad mouse

The underlying frames


unnatural mouse profane mouse

Monster or saviour?

mouse with extra dna unnatural sad mouse mouse profane mouse
use relation balance source

oncomouse

use capacity functionality

relationship experience functionality individuality

functionality life naturalness system

individuality being naturalness system

most important animal values

Example of framing in a S&T controversy The depression epidemic


a physical problem a problem of society a mental problem a spiritual problem

The underlying frames


a physical problem a mental problem a problem of society a spiritual problem

matter

mind

embedded interaction
body connection experience
related concepts

soul

mechanism biology

emotion identity

being meaning

Assignment write down how you think these frames complicate the controversy around the depression epidemic

How frames complicate the science & technology debate


actors enter arena on the basis of their interests underlying frames determine what they see as being in their interest

How frames complicate the science & technology debate


frames are not free-floating entities, but are often grounded in networks, associations, institutions and practices they reinfore habitual ways of thinking offering a view of what is right and relevant

the negotiation of interests is hampered because their is no consensus on the right definition of the problem at hand

How frames complicate the science & technology debate


the complexity and information-richness of reality makes that frames are necessary to perceive and make sense of it. there is no frame-neutral way to evaluate a frame frame conflicts solved by an appeal to fact or reasoned argumentation

Assignment: Climategate
is global warming induced or accelerated by human action?

write down three actors that play a role in this controversy write down the frame differences you can find

the involved actors frames determine what is perceived as a fact or a reasoned argument

complexity

uncertainty

How to deal with the presence of conflicting frames?

How to deal with the presence of conflicting frames?


Schn and Rein 1994: Frame reflection achieving understanding of one's own framing and (possible) differences with the framings of others.

Three roles of frame reflection

an improved understanding of the various perspectives present in a social controversy to reveal implicit assumptions and exclusion effects of current habits, patterns and practices the possibility of reframing: the process of constructing a new integrative frame

Reframing issues
substance process values how one views the world today or tomorrow how one interacts with others in the dispute the relationship between values and interests for different parties the language used by disputants to communicate with one another

4 ways of science communication

support

One direction Changing the public

Two directions

phrasing

behavior Public Public awareness understanding (PAS) (PUS) economy framing Public democracy Public engagement participation Changing (PES) (PPS) Science culture

Dealing with public controversy The creative management of conflicts


frame analysis: conflict assessment interview different actors to articulate their perceptions and interpretations helps to clarify the conflict frame intervention: telling different stories reinforce frames by sharing them in communities constructive dialogue: reflective inquiry and deliberation bring citizens together to enable mutual learning and explore areas of agreement and conflict

frame analysis: conflict assessment interview different actors to articulate their perceptions and interpretations helps to clarify the conflict

the value lab


a reconstruction of moral value frames in facilitated small group use discussions

relation

balance

source

frame intervention: telling different stories (re)inforce frames by sharing them in communities

constructive dialogue: reflective inquiry and deliberation bring citizens together to enable mutual learning and explore areas of agreement and conflict

nanotechnology by dave blank

mind scientists
festivals

books

blogs

leaflets

science writers

matter

safe and controlled conversation environment facilitated dialogue between practice science

soul

governments?

embedded interaction

U-R

B-S U-B

R-B

U-S R-S