Framing, resonance, and micro-mobilization: shall we say what we are for, or what we are against?

Hamid Foroughi, Soroush Aslani, Brayden King

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    The framing perspective in social movement discusses how movement organizers provide meaning to a cause in an effort to persuade their audience to join a movement and challenge established institutions. This mobilization is often facilitated by stressing the positive attributions of the supporters of the movements (protagonistic frames) or by highlighting the negative attributions of its opponents (antagonistic frames). In this paper, through a mixed-method approach (interviews and laboratory experiments), we studied the impact of these two types of frames on the tactics pursued (moderate vs. radical) and the movement individual-level outcomes (e.g. participation, commitment, and perceived urgency of a cause). In the first study, we conducted 25 in-depth qualitative interviews with activists to examine the impact of frames on different groups of movement audiences (extreme supporters vs. moderate supporter vs. bystanders) with particular attention to the mechanisms of influence that engaged or disengaged people from the movement. The results were followed by two lab experiments examining frames commonly used by the prochoice and prolife movements to explicitly examine causality. Overall, our results showed that compared to protagonistic frames, antagonistic frames engaged extreme supporters more (or disengaged them less) than moderate supporters or bystanders. Moreover we found that it was the interaction of antagonism and extreme ideology that provoked radicalization of attitudes and pursuing violent tactics. Implications for movement vitality and radicalization are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Proceedings
    PublisherAcademy of Management
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

    Publication series

    NameAcademy of Management Proceedings
    PublisherAcademy of Management
    ISSN (Print)0065-0668
    ISSN (Electronic)2151-6561


    • social movement
    • framing
    • frame resonance


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