Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Framing Wars

This lengthy NY Times Magazine piece on George Lakoff and framing, gives an excellent overview on his linguistic ideas (I have two recommended books by him on the right side bar). What struck me about the criticism is the point they missed, i.e. why do Americans vote against their self interest?

In his books, Lakoff goes into detail on the concept of cognitive framing that people do, with supporting studies He explains how we are persuaded with identification and conventional wisdom over compelling rational argument. In fact, Luntz, his biggest critic, also knows this. In the past, Luntz himself even told Republicans to use certain words, even when they didn't add to any context of the argument.

The article also suggests that Lakoff is viewed as some kind of twelve step guru. While some may believe this, I see his contribution as another piece to the forensic puzzle. It's a piece that can't be ignored. It's not a substitute for ideas and policy. But if we can't better frame our ideas and policy in a way that is easy to grasp by those millions who continually vote identity, rather than self interest and national interest, we're doomed to stay the minority party.

In any case, the article is a good read. I also have links to Rockridge, Longview, and Frameshop on the right, which will provide more information.

Update: There's also a follow-up to Bai's original article with questions and answers

1 Comments:

At 2:43 PM, Blogger monkeydogblog said...

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