Meta-framing

If you want to answer to an opponent’s frame you will normally reframe it. This can be done by telling your version of the same reality, by exchanging roles or by taking a different look at the topic.

Another possibility is meta-framing. This technique is used to attack and destroy the opponents frame. So it stops the current discussion. Therefore this technique should only be used if necessary. But on the other hand, sometimes it could be helpful to stop a maybe deadlocked discussion in this way and have the chance to restart the talk with another topic or in another way.

But what is meant with “attack” your opponents frame? You can simply state his frame as morally wrong. But in this case be aware that you not enter into you opponents frame. Instead say something about it. Prefer a moral condemnation. Show that the statement or question of your opponent is morally wrong and you will not answer it.

For example you are invited to a discussion about more police checks of the daily traffic. You want to represent the opinion that there are enough checks and an expensive expansion of the police checks is not necessary. You opponent will start the discussion by showing an old police report which shows that you were involved in a car accident many years ago because you were driving drunk.

Now you have a big issue to solve. You cannot simply ignore the opponents frame. On the one hand you can answer to it but then you will step into this dangerous frame. But you have another alternative. This frame is morally discussing. So don’t answer this frame. Instead say something about it. For example you can say that you are very disappointed, because you get an invitation to a serious discussion. You are not willing to talk about topics belonging in the tabloids. But you are willing to participate on the discussion if it come back to the real topics.

This example shows the use of meta-framing. As shown, you should use it carefully, but in some circumstances it might be a good possibility to weaken you opponents frame and redirect the discussion to another direction.

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