Art Dewulf

Issue framing in multi-actor contexts. How people make sense of issues through negotiating meaning, enacting discourse and doing differences

by Art Dewulf
Katholieke University, Leuven, Belgium
December, 2005

In multi-actor contexts, like public-private partnerships, development projects, natural resources management or network organizations, some kind of recognized interdependency urges different actors to meet each other and this results in the encounter of differences. When these actors meet each other, they tend to frame the issues at hand in very different ways. We investigated what happens with these different frames when actors start working together. We developed a discursive approach to issue framing, as a process of organizational sensemaking in interaction that depends heavily on communication and language. Using discourse and conversation analysis, we analyzed interaction sequences in the context of (real and simulated) multi-actor development projects, which all have something to do with natural resources management in the Southern Andes of Ecuador.

This dissertation explores the process of issue framing in multi-actor contexts throughout a number of chapters. All chapters have to do with natural resources management through the interaction of multiple actors, and all focus on the different frames of reference involved and how these develop through the interaction.