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Protesters on message? Explaining demonstrators' differential degrees of frame alignment

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The frame alignment perspective emphasizes the importance of congruence in beliefs between protest participants and protest organizers. Although frame alignment is widely used in social movement research and matters for important movement processes, it has remained largely unclear how we can explain different degrees of frame alignment among protesters. We use empirical evidence regarding organizers and participants frames, surveying 4000 protesters in twenty-nine demonstrations between 2009 and 2012 in Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The results show that frame alignment depends on variables that tap into protesters exposure to organizational and alternative messages. Participants who are recruited by staging organizations, and events organized by strong and more professionalized organizations, display higher levels of frame alignment, whereas salience of the protest issue in the political arena severely constrains frame alignment.
Journal: Social Movement Studies
ISSN: 1474-2837
Volume: 16
Pages: 340 - 354
Publication year:2017