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SOCI 386 Chapter Notes -Preferred Frame

Sociology (Arts)
Course Code
SOCI 386
Marcos Ancelovici

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Movements and Media as Interacting Systems (Gamson)
Power and Dependency Relations
- Movements generally much more dependent on media
- Needs of each are a competitive symbiosis: the movements need media for
mobilization, validation, and scope enlargement, while the media need movements for
drama, conflict and action
- However, movements are not the media’s only source of these things
Power dependency theory
- 2 components of power: 1) value, 2) need
- Relative power of actors is determined by the ratio of their value to their need
- Movements rarely have much power- are the most in need but have least access to
media services
- Movements and media are engaged in a constant struggle over framing
- Journalists serve as gatekeepers deciding which frames will be heard- this gatekeeping is
influenced by powerful actors in the media
- Movement disadvantages in the struggle over meaning reflect cultural obstacles as well
as handicaps in access and resources
- Movements often view media as representing the dominant cultural codes which they
seek to challenge- media as both a target and a medium of communication
Effects of movements on media coverage- 3 elements of interest to movement actors:
1) Standing
- Extent to which the group is being taken seriously by being given extensive media
2) Preferred framing
- Prominence of group’s frame
3) Movement sympathy
- Extent to which media portrays movement sympathetically
Hypothesis 1: the greater the resources, professionalization, organization and coordination of a
movement, the greater its standing and preferred framing will be because these movements will
be more able to provide and package info in ways that meet the media’s needs
Hypothesis 2: the greater the complementary division of labour among movement actors, the
greater the movement’s ability to gain standing and preferred frames
- Dividing tasks: those who are deviants and serve to get media’s attention are initially
separated from movement spokespeople who articulate preferred frame
- Division of labour will only work when there is a common frame and a willingness to
subordinate concern for who gets credit of being the messenger
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