Negotiating the Lines of Contention: Counterframing and Boundary Work in the School of the Americas Debate

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15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Counterframing scholars typically identify counterframes that interpretively distinguish arguments among opponents. This approach assumes that counterframing strategy centers on directly countering the claims of protesters. In my in-depth examination of the ongoing debate between protesters and officials of the former School of the Americas, I identify a form of counterframing that agrees with and embraces the moral alternatives implicit in accusers' claims. I bring boundary construction theory into conversation with counterframing analysis to expand understanding of how framing and counterframing strategies revolve around the competition for common, moral resources. I explain that in the movement to close the School of the Americas, protesters' claims have served as moral boundaries against which the targeted institution has redefined its objectives and programs. I introduce the concept of "boundary negotiation" to argue that counterframing strategy and success lie in the negotiation of moral boundaries called into question by social movements. I outline defensive and offensive modes of boundary negotiation and identify boundary negotiation as a mechanism driving the link between counterframing and demobilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-45
Number of pages25
JournalSociological Forum
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Boundaries
  • Counterframing
  • Foreign military training
  • Framing
  • Human rights
  • Latin America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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