What You Need to Know About : Framing Theory

Framing theory aims to identify schemes in which individuals perceive the world. The roots of framing theory are often attributed to the sociologist Erving Goffman who argued that interpretive designs constitute central elements of cultural belief systems. Goffman called these interpretive designs frames that we use in our day-to-day experience to make sense of the world. Frames help to reduce the complexity of information, but serve as a two-way process: Frames help interpret and reconstruct reality. Goffman’s concept of frames has its conceptual roots in phenomenology, a philosophical approach that argues that the meaning of the world is perceived by individuals based on their lifeworld beliefs, experiences, and knowledge. Whereas traditionally, world meanings were conveyed through socialization processes, creating a collective reality within a culture or society, today so-called mediated communication delivers powerful frames of world perception that challenges and renegotiates these lifeworld experiences.

Not surprising, then, is that framing theory has become important for a variety of sectors within today’s transnational media society. Knowledge about framing theory is crucial for the planning of media campaigns in advertising, public relations, and political sectors. Framing theory is, for example, utilized by spin doctors for the tailoring of a political issue in election campaigns for a specific audience. However, one of the important areas of framing theory is media research in journalism and political communication. As media maintain a fourth estate role in democratic societies, media researchers find framing theory helpful to analyze the imbalances and underlying power structures that mediate political issues. For example, the frame of a story about the environment can be quite different in conservative or liberal media outlets. However, the use of framing theory not only identifies the difference framings of one story across a number of news outlets, but allows us to detect journalistic bias. The use of stereotypical framing, frames along gender lines, or imbalances of the representation of relevant societal communities, such as ethnic minorities within a national or transnational public, are examples of different frames that might be used.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.476-477

Penanggungjawab naskah :

Gayes Mahestu
Edwina Ayu Kustiawan