Food Activism: ½ credit next semester. TR, 230-4pm
Final Assignment handed out this Thursday, Pink Ribbons Inc., this lecture
should give some background
2 last lecture by Emma
Also a guest lecture by Brendan
+ Question time about grad school
The Framing of Health Problems: Media, Movements, Money – November 19
How health issues are presented as moral issues. How public health has prevented
health threats and how to deal with health threats over time. How drugs and people who
use them have been presented differently over time. All these topics have in common:
how health can be framed in different ways.
Goffman – symbolic interactionism, dramaturgy
Working in symbolic interactionist tradition, very fun in sociological theory.
All about the way we make sense of our lives.
Social psychee focus.
Symbolic meanings we make of social interactions.
Working w/in tradition, looked at society as a kind of play (theatre), used
Had roles in it, would behave differently in front stage vs. back stage,
public vs. private.
How to people make meanings and how to they become social, are there
clashes between people‟s views.
Way we make sense of social lives and events is from frames.
Use frames to make meaning of our experience.
Culturally shared, socially specific schemata
Provide context and meaning
Multiple frames possible for same action
“Frames are principles of selection, emphasis and presentation composed of little
tacit theories about what exists, what happens, and what matters.” – Todd Gitlin
Eg. Cultural frame that tells us how to behave in a classroom
Use frameworks to decipher and organize our experience.
Context to enable interpretation of events.
Social shared and culturally specific. Eg. Culture shock – not knowing what
the frames are.
Frames are socially shared and culturally specific.
Frames are like scripts that help us put on a play called social life. Same section or strip of film of experience can use different frames.
Different frames give experience different meaning.
What seems to be happening here?
Falling, going down stairs quickly
- More defensive, holding a weapon, person coming up the stairs, in a house
- Jack Nicholson coming up the stairs, know it‟s a movie since actor is in the shot
- Crew changes the meaning of the photograph
- Standard frame in horror movies: going to the basement = something bad is
going to happen
- different needles, one may be IV or blood draw vs. injection
- Different images: one self administered, one w/ health care professional. One
legal and health related, other may be a junkie. Healthcare setting = gloves and
equipment (props). Dark, bad lighting
- Use stock frames to make assumptions for what is happening in the photos.
- Frames used in all social processes. Most framing for Goffman is tasid, out of
Applications of Framing
Media studies: framing as a deliberate process
“[t]o frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more
salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem
definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment
recommendation.” (Robert Entman 1993: 52)
Social movements: use of frames to mobilize support
How social movements mobilize support for a cause.
Framing in Health Movements
Framing issue in particular kinds of ways. Unjust, requires urgent action, unfair,
Film looks at breast cancer movement and consequences of it, presumably not
intended Eg Breast cancer movement (Erin Fredericks)
How breast cancer movement affects the way women with breast cancer can “do”
Looked at their involvement in breast cancestmovement had unintended
consequences. Explicitly feminist, when 1 emerged challenged women with
breast cancer as victims
Interviews and online discussion group with NS women with breast cancer
Movement promotes fighting, strength etc.
Reinforces traditional femininity and status quo (pink, „look good, feel better‟
Framing of „ideal‟ breast cancer patient
Positive, volunteers, is feminine
Those who don‟t conform can be punished
Don‟t have to have breast cancer to be part of the movement.
Angelina Jolie and her “brave” choice of a double mastectomy: seen as protecting
Change body image of the “ideal” body.
Protect her children from losing their mother.
An everyday person may be seen as hypocondriac,
Angeline Jolie‟s breasts are special. Afterward she got plastic surgery,
would it have been a less brave choice to live with the gene and see if she
Focus on women‟s breast in sexual imaging.
Framed as fighters and survivors.
Maternal fighting, or to look good and feel better.
Makes movement more socially acceptable but doesn‟t challenge the status quo.
Inadequacies of treatment, sexism in breast cancer, corporations using breast
cancer to sell product etc.
Frame acceptable ways to have the illness, if you don‟t conform, may be
Feminine “thrivers”, better than a survivor.
Fear, depression, vulnerability, didn‟t volunteer in movement was seen as
negative. Had to be idealized woman with breast cancer.
Social Problems and Framing
Social Problem: an alleged situation that is incompatible with the values of a
significant number of people or significant people who agree that action is needed
to alter the situation
How to analyze social problems? (Carol Bacchi)
1. What is the problem represented to be?
2. What presuppositions or assumptions underlie this representation of the probme?
3. What effects are produced by this representation of the problem? 4. How would „responses‟ differ if the „problem‟ were though about or represented
5. How/where are dominant problem representations produced, disseminated and
Allowing us to think more critically of what counts or gets to count as a problem in
Way we define problems is in part based on the framing we do.
Term social problem is an interesting term.
Someone has to call it a social problem and has to be incompatible (moral
judgment attached to it), something that is wrong.
Seen as a problem by a significant # of people, or significant people.
Call attention to social process by which something becomes a problem.
More interested in how something came to be seen as a problem. How argument
was made, by whom and why? Societies norms, politics.
Emma Whelan was lead investigator.
Interest grew out of interest in pain medicine and how medicine tries to treat pain.
Pain as cultural and historical issue.
Emma was only Canadian at US pain conference, struck by how much of
conversation focused on American culture and the war on drugs and how
affected access to opioids.
How is Oxycontin being represented as a social problem that needs to be fixed?
(the problematisation process)
How do those who favour access to opioids for people with pain respond?
- How oxy was being framed as bad drug, how affected pain medication etc.
- How it was seen as a social problem that should be fixed.
- Purdue – close relationship to pain medicine. Close relationship between pain
medicine and pharm companies.
What is OxyContin?
Opioid (narcotic) analgesic
Manufactured by Purdue Pharma
Approved in US in 1995, Canada in 1996
Used to treat moderate to severe pain
Contains oxycodone, found in other prescription painkillers, BUT…
Consistent relief – desirable for chronic pain
Can be crushed and then ingested or snorted, or diluted in water and
injected Used in this way, it produces euphoric effects and can lead to addiction
Black market for drug has developed
‘Oxy’ in the New
High-powered painkiller „poor man‟s heroin‟
OxyContin crime wave hits nursing home
„Hillbilly Heroin‟ ravaging remote Maine; OxyContin‟s potent, heroin-like high traps
drug abusers in poor, rural areas
Addicted to „Oxy‟: One Man‟s Struggle
8 deaths linked to OxyContin
A Prescription for Ruin: Illicit trade in the painkiller Oxycontin is brining crime,
addiction - - and death - - to the Atlantic provinces
Hillbilly heroin heads downtown
920 news stories from 27 papers across North America, 1995-2005
182 medical journal articles (pain, addictions, general medicine)
Interview with 11 „experts‟ – pain and addictions
Interview/focus group with 11 „advocates‟ – pain advocacy leaders and pain
support group members
- Purdue and conflict of interest issues
- Didn‟t reach out to Purdue pharma, but they would call and send things in the
- Most pain experts receive some funding from pharm, pain clinics also receive
- News media