Essay on Framing the User: Social Constructions of Marijuana Users

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Framing the User: Social Constructions of Marijuana Users and the Medical Marijuana Movement Nelson A. Pichardo Almanzar Dept. of Sociology Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA 98926 Pichardn@cwu.edu Thanks to Laura Appleton and Ericka Stange for comments on an earlier draft. Thanks also to Kirk Johnson for his assistance in locating criminal data sets. Framing the User: Social Constructions of Marijuana Users and the Medical Marijuana Movement ABSTRACT Social movements are continuously engaged in the act of framing. Whether it is to present their message in a positive light or to cast their opponent’s arguments in a negative light, SMs find it necessary to engage in a public contest over how they are perceived.…show more content…
The ostensive purpose of framing in social movements is to advance the acceptance of the cause. Framing helps accomplish this in several ways. First, it identifies the problem and locus of attribution. The “larger the range of problems covered by the frame, the larger the range of social groups that can be addressed with the frame and the greater the mobilization capacity of the frame” (Gerhards and Rucht 1992:580). Second, frames can vary in terms of their flexibility and rigidity and their inclusivity and exclusivity. Purportedly, the more flexible and inclusive the collective action frame used, the greater the potential appeal of the frame to the public. Third, frames vary in their interpretive scope and influence. If they are fairly expansive in their scope they function as “master frames” (Snow and Benford 1992). Master frames have broad appeal to the population increasing the movement’s appeal. Examples of master frames include democracy, victimization, and individual rights frames. Fourth, frames 4 also vary in terms of their cultural resonance. The more a frame resonates or connects with the culture, the greater its effectiveness or mobilizing potential. The success of framing efforts is also a consequence of its credibility. “The credibility of any framing is a function of three factors: frame consistency, empirical credibility, and the credibility of the frame articulators

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