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Political Framing

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See the many resources and urls re framing in the Metaphor and Social Change section of this bibliography. There are also now innumerable articles available online about the newly popular topic of framing. Many of these cite additional framing resources, trainings, or organizations. A good way to find them is to search Google for 'political framing guides' or 'issue framing.' 

See also http://www.co-intelligence.org/ for a vast trove of valuable information on non-partisan framing and collective intelligence created or gathered by founder Tom Atlee.


Dunlap, Louise, Undoing the Silence: Six Tools for Social Change Writing, New Village Press, Oakland, CA, 2007, 229 pp.

Feldman, Jeffrey, Framing The Debate, Ig Publishing, Brooklyn, 2007, 201 pp.

Goffman, Erving, Frame Analysis, Northeastern University Press, Boston, 1971, 586 pp.

Hartmann, Thom, Cracking The Code, Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco, 2007, 227 pp.

Heath, Chip and Dan, Made to Stick, Random House, New York, 2007, 291 pp.

Iyengar, Shanto, 'Speaking of Values: The Framing of American Politics,' Article 7, The Forum, Volume 3, Issue 3, 2005, 9 pages.

Luntz, Dr. Frank, Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear, Hyperion, New York, 2007, 324 pages.

Reinsborough, Patrick, and Canning, Doyle, Re:Imagining Change, PM Press, Oakland, CA, 2010, 142 pp.

Tannen, Deborah, Framing in Discourse, Oxford University Press, New York, 1993, 263 pp.

Framing Blogs:


Search the following for 'framing messages' or 'political framing' (or you will get blogging entries on house or picture framing):



Framing in social marketing:

Search http://www.frameworksinstitute.org

Bray, Robert, Spin Works, Independent Media Institute, 2000

Minch, Holly, with Kim Haddow and Laura Sponara, Loud and Clear in An Election Year, The SPIN Project, 2004, 176 pp.

Search http://www.spinproject.org

Search Amazon for their social marketing booklist.

Organizations that offer framing advice or expertise:
Descriptions included below are from their home websites. Comments on especially valuable features of these sites are made from the MP's point of view.

I. Berkeley Media Studies Group:


The Berkeley Media Studies Group helps health advocates raise their voices, break through the din and be heard at the time when it's most important—when policy decisions are being made.
Some issue papers and working papers on health policy related topics are available on the site.

II. The Breakthrough Institute:


This organization focuses on new approaches to framing for environmental issues. Its multi-stakeholder approach is based on the work of Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, among others.

III. The Center for Communications and Community UCLA


The Center for Communications and Community (C3) is a journalism, research, and training institution working at the intersection of communications, race, and community transformation. The Center seeks to fill the void that exists between grassroots practitioners, the non-profit sector, media research scholars, working journalists, and policymakers interested in community development.
This site has an excellent Toolbox section covering communication terms and concepts.

IV. Communications Consortium Media Center: 


The Washington, DC based Communications Consortium Media Center is a public interest media center dedicated to helping nonprofit organizations use media and new technologies as tools for policy changes. Their mission is to use communications strategies for policy change.

Of particular interest is the paper on Strategic Communications Audits by Julia Coffman, found at the Media Evaluation button, especially a chart on p. 3 on Essential Strategic Communications Practices. This site also contains media tips and talking points on issues of the day. Executive Director Kathy Bonk also has some additional good advice for progressive communicators: anticipate attacks and be repetitive.

 VI. The Frameworks Institute:


Another major source of framing guidance available online is The Frameworks Institute, founded by Susan Nall Bales. Although Frameworks has a primary interest in children's issues, it is also an invaluable source of general in-depth framing advice, extensive examples, survey reports, and theory.
Susan Nall Bales has also written very clearly about the vital role of enduring American cultural metaphor in framing. Her essay, Reframing Community Messages through Myths and Metaphors, is an excellent resource, found at


Of particular help under the category of Products on the Frameworks site is Issue No. 8, A Five-minute Refresher Course in Framing, a broad review of the theory that underlies framing. See also 'A Framing Checklist,' Section IV of their document entitled Framing Public Issues.
On the topic of framing and culture, Issue No. 29, Framing Lessons from the Social Movements Literature, is especially helpful. Issue 1 Bridging has very clear advice about using metaphors in framing under the section called Role No. 4: Use Metaphors to Bridge. Issue topic Number 31, Strengthening Advocacy by Explaining Causal Sequences is especially useful.

VII. Index of Lakoff Metaphors:


This site contains a list of what everyday metaphors commonly used words imply.

VIII. International Program on Intractable Conflict:


This site contains useful ideas on treating different kinds of framing problems. See the section entitled Treating Framing Problems.

IX. The Longview Institute:


Seven sociologists and other professionals who had been original founders of The Rockridge Institute with George Lakoff have formed this new institute in the summer of 2005 to provide a sociological perspective on contemporary political framing.

X. Media Research and Action Project:


MRAP is a very active communications training organization. Watch for their forthcoming handbook described in the Public Eye article cited in the Articles section below.

XI. Political Strategy:


Political Strategy.org is a non-affiliated organization dedicated to providing political strategies, ideas and tactics for local progressive campaigns. This site contains some up to the minute framing commentary and resources and also includes searchable text of Frank Luntz's 2006 Republican Playbook.

XII. The Praxis Project


The Praxis Project is a national, nonprofit organization that builds partnerships with local groups to influence policymaking to address the underlying, systemic causes of community problems. Committed to closing the health gap facing communities of color, they forge alliances for building healthy communities.

 XIII. Thom Hartmann:


Among much else, this site provides information about NLP approaches to framing issues.


 1.The Progressive Communicators Network:


The Progressive Communicators Network brings together media and public relations practitioners committed to increasing the power and reach of grassroots voices in the media and in the formation of public policy and opinion through national gatherings, regional gatherings and collaborative projects

2. The Progressive Roundtable:


The Progressive Roundtable website is a resource and meeting place for those involved in the communication and marketing of progressive ideas. It also sponsors annual gatherings of the Progressive Marketing and Communications Working Group. It is a project of The Commonweal Institute:


3. The True Spin Conference: Contact Jason Salzman


The first True Spin Conference was held in Denver in February 2006. The two day conference brought together nationally known progressive PR practitioners and progressive activists to sharpen media relations skills and to network, emphasizing new and creative tactics.