Frames and Symobols in Terrrorist Communication
Dep. of Political Science University of Aarhus Aarhus, Denmark
Frames and Symbols in Terrorist Communication
The literature on framing has become a staple in social movement theory since the 1980es. The main focus of framing research has been on verbal and written statements. Yet activist communication also has a symbolic element that is not well captured by framing theory. There are three aspects to symbolic framing: First, the use of images and photo/film, second, the use or targeting of symbolic places and constructions, and, third, the use of meaning condensing symbols in verbal or written framing efforts. The paper is an attempt to expand framing theory to include such symbolic elements. This exercise is based on a theoretical dialogue between framing theory and communication theory. It is argued that such a dialogue has considerable, but as yet relatively unexplored, potential for the development of social movement theory. Empirically, the paper analyzes the symbolic framing strategies of contemporary radical Islamic organizations.