Publication details

Framing in the Authoritarian Context : Policy Advocacy by Environmental Movement Organisations in China



Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Social Movement Studies
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords CSOs; Environmental CSOs; China; Framing
Description When do CSOs succeed in influencing policy when working under one-party regimes? This article compares two cases in which Environmental CSOs (ECSOs) in China tried to influence policies. This article argues that the difference between success and failure is connected to the types of frames that the organizations use and how well these frames can link to meta-cultural master frames. Most studies have concentrated on how activists apply frames to get resonance among the population to mobilize people against the regime. However, under an authoritarian regime that greatly represses public demonstrations, it is often more important to frame arguments in a manner that gets resonance among policymakers than it is to gain resonance among the population. Even though it has been rare to analyze how CSOs frame their arguments vis-a-vis policymakers, some recent studies of Chinese CSOs have done so. However, these studies do not go deep enough in elaborating the cultural and historical contexts of these framing strategies. Our study goes deeper in this direction, by claiming that in order to get resonance the frames must be in line with the cultural norms of society. Consequently, we link culture to the “master frames.” Scholars are often reluctant to discuss master frames because the term itself is a bit diffuse and it is not always apparent how to use it. By tying master frames to a meta-cultural analysis, we make it clearer how the concept of master frames can be useful for analyzing the framing strategies of political entrepreneurs.

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