I am grateful to Steve Buechler, John Evans, Herb Haines, Michelle Hughes Miller, Raymond Schmitt, Randy Stoecker, and Rhys Williams for their insightful comments and suggestions. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 1995 annual meeting of the Midwest Sociological Society. I would also like to express my sincere thanks to the many anonymous reviewers who conscientiously read and commented upon papers considered for inclusion in this special section. I thank Sociological Inquiry editors Joane Nagel and Bill Staples and managing editor Kevin Gotham for their vision and assistance. Finally, I am indebted to Brett Walter for his editorial assistance.
An Insider's Critique of the Social Movement Framing Perspective*
Version of Record online: 9 JAN 2007
Volume 67, Issue 4, pages 409–430, October 1997
How to Cite
Benford, R. D. (1997), An Insider's Critique of the Social Movement Framing Perspective. Sociological Inquiry, 67: 409–430. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-682X.1997.tb00445.x
- Issue online: 9 JAN 2007
- Version of Record online: 9 JAN 2007
In the last decade the framing perspective has gained increasing popularity among social movement researchers and theorists. Surprisingly, there has been no critical assessment of this growing body of literature. Though the perspective has made significant contributions to the movements literature, it suffers from several shortcomings. These include neglect of systematic empirical studies, descriptive bias, static tendencies, reification, reductionism, elite bias, and monolithic tendencies. In addition to a critique of extant movement framing literature, I offer several remedies and illustrate them with recent work. The articles by Francesca Polletta, John H. Evans, Sharon Erickson Nepstad, and Ira Silver in this special section address several of the concerns raised in this critique and, in so doing, contribute to the integration of structural and cultural approaches to social movements.