Social Movement Discourse

Movement Discourse

Since my stay in Rio (2014-2017) I have been interested in the study of the discourse(s) of Social Movements (SMs). This interest was triggered by my criticism of the very popular notions of “frame” and “framing” in many SM studies, originally inspired by Goffman, and introduced in SM studies by Benford & Snow in 1988, as part of the new “cultural” paradigm of SM studies.

The problem of the use of this notion, both in SM research and in media studies, was its very vague nature.

An analysis of a large number (some 150) of these “frame” studies showed that the notion of frame was applied to describe a large variety of (mostly discursive) phenomena that could be described much more precisely in terms of discourse analytical notions, such as topic, theme, narrative, argumentation, rhetoric, etc., or in terms of sociocognitive notions such as mental models (“defining the situation”), attitudes, norms, values and ideologies. From this detailed critical review it was concluded that the notion of frame is too vague for precise analysis, or even a pseudo method used instead of more precise discourse analytical or cognitive methods.

This critical approach to the notion of “frame” also triggered more general and critical interest in the use of discourse analysis in SM studies, and a project to write a major (hand) book of the study of social movement discourse. Within the project on racism (see there) the study of antiracism as a social movement was carried out at the same time as part of the new project on social movement discourse. In order to go beyond a mere theoretical or methodological study, the new book focused on the discourses of and about the movement Refugees Studies, emerging in 2015 during the arrival of many refugees from Syria and other countries.

That part of the project also required a study of such fundamental notions as solidarity and empathy. At the same time, some new studies on (anti)racist discourse, e.g. of Black Lives Matter and the Movimento Negro in Brazil, also were formulated in terms of social movement discourse.

After the book on social movement discourse a companion volume on social movement cognition is being projected, e.g., to study the role of mental models, knowledge, attitudes, norms, values and ideologies of social movements and the subjective experiences, plans, opinions and emotions of their members, also as part of the projects on ideology and knowledge.


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Books Social Movement Discourse

Antiracist Discourse in Brazil

From Abolition to Affirmative Action. Lexington Books: Lanham: MD, 2020.

Portuguese translation

Antiracist Discourse in Brazil

São Paulo; Contexto, 2021.

Antiracist Discourse

Theory and History of a Macromovement.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021

Social Movement Discourse

(in preparation)

Articles Social Movement Discourse

Critical Review of Framing Studies in Social Movement Research.

Centre of Discourse Studies, Barcelona.
Working Papers, April 2020. Online on Academia

Spanish Discourse on Refugees.

To be published in Antonio M. Bañón y Bernard McGuirk (Eds.), Refugees in Conflict and Post-Conflict. Media, Artistic and Political Representations. Studies in Post-Conflict. Volume 12 London: Critical, Cultural and Communication Press, 2021.

Spanish translation

El Discurso Español sobre las Personas Refugiadas

Is to be published in Antonio Bañón & Josep Solves (Eds.).Discurso lingüístico y migraciones. Madrid Arco/Libros, 2021.

Portuguese translation

Discursos espanhois sobre refugiados

Revista da Abralin, 20(3), 2021.

“Just helping people…”

(con Pierre Monforte). “Just helping people…”
Refugee Welcome Discourse of Modesty. Review of Civil Society (2022, in press)

The Discourse of the Unified Black Movement in Brazil

Portuguese Translation in Viviane Resender (Ed).
VIII Colóquio e III Instituto da ALED. 2