Issue framing in conversations for change: discursive interaction strategies for ‘doing differences’
Art Dewulf and René Bouwen
In conversations for change between multiple actors about complex issues, differences in issue framing are bound to emerge. When the participants frame the meaning of an issue in diverging terms, they face the challenge of dealing with this frame difference in the further conversation. We draw on literature on framing, dualities and interaction to explore how participants in conversations deal with these frame differences through language-in-interaction. With discourse and conversation analysis as a methodological approach, we analyzed interaction sequences in the context of multi-actor projects of natural resources management. We identify five interaction strategies that involve different ways of ‘doing differences’: frame incorporation, frame disconnection, frame polarization, frame accommodation and frame reconnection. The discursive characteristics of each of these interaction strategies can be understood by considering the multiple interactional challenges faced by participants when they engage in conversations for change.