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Social Movement Theory

The investigation of how linguistic symbols relate to everyday experience and the conceptualization of reality has been a prominent theme in academia since the semiotic

turn. Post-structuralist semiotic approaches movement analysis the semiotic turn has led

of

‘frames’.

Whereas

discourse

analysis

led to the concept of discourse. In social to the increasing importance of the concept attempts to uncover a hidden logic, or

something which was previously salient, deliberately engage with a discourse in interests. Within social movement research Melucci and theorized that, “in complex societies,

framing is an active process in which SMOs order to re-shape meaning to further their

has conceptualized linguistic symbols as codes power consists more and more of operational

codes” (Melucci 1985; 806). information is essentially the

In a later work Melucci expounded that, “The power of naming” (Melucci 1996; 228). Codes

power of have thus

become “do not

resources fought fight merely for

over by

SMOs.

Melucci

material

goods”;

Rather,

has argued they “fight

that contemporary SMOs, for symbolic and cultural

stakes” (Melucci movements strive

1985;

797),

or

codes.

Melucci

also

argues

to reappropriate the capacity to name through the

that, “contemporary elaboration of codes

and language designed to that, “Movement actors

define reality” (Melucci 1996; 357). are viewed as signifying agents

Snow and Benford write actively engaged in the

production observers”

and maintenance of meaning (Snow & Benford 2000; 613).

for constituents, antagonists, and bystanders or Framing represents the active engagement with

or attempt to reshape a discourse through changing codes, garner support and pre-empt the arguments of antagonists. For example, the use and promotion of the term ‘intersex’

or

terminology, in order to

by

SMOs was itself the re-

appropriation of a code. terminology produced by

The ‘intersex’ terminology was an attempt the medical realm and thus reclaim the power

to of

challenge the naming. The

medical intersex

labels were rejected in favor of self-selected codes.

In the

was

rarely

discussed

as

‘intersex’,

and

usually

permutations

of

the

medical term

realm

66

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