Making it Personal: How Anti-Fracking Organizations Frame Their Messages

Wright, Marita

Within the past five years, the anti-fracking movement has emerged from relative obscurity to dramatically shift the social and political dialogue surrounding hydraulic fracturing. The extensive body of framing literature suggests that collective action frames play an important role in building social movements such as the one against fracking. While many scholars have studied the types and utility of collective action frames, few have investigated the role of the intended audience in creating them. This study finds that the relationship between the organization and the audiences it targets is an essential piece of the frame creation process, and by extension, an integral part of the anti-fracking movement. Examination of recent history preceding the movement reveals events that were necessary but not sufficient to coalesce people around the anti-fracking cause. Through ethnographic research at an environmental organization and interviews with those who work with other groups involved in the anti-fracking debate, I establish a theory about how these organizations develop the framing techniques that influence public understanding of fracking. I propose a frame creation process that outlines the relationship between three components: backstage strategizing, front stage testing grounds, and front stage official messages.


Also Published In

The Journal of Politics and Society

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Academic Units
Helvidius Group
Helvidius Group of Columbia University
Published Here
February 14, 2014