1. Gregory Bateson introduced the concept of ‘framing’ in regard to pretend play. The words “Let’s Pretend” introduce most toddlers and preschoolers to their first frame shift. This metacognitive awareness of make-believe contrasts with real world activities like daily household routines and schooling.
2. Our two recent seminars have explored the relationship between the development of imagination in pretend play and the use of imagination by adults in International Relations. During pretend play, story-telling builds narrative skills, and role play requires a shift in perspective (a reframing of one’s role, motives, and behavior). For Vygotsky object substitutions, such as using a stick as if riding a horse, are activities that involve switching meanings (shifting from one ‘frame’ of reference to another). Vygotsky refers to the stick as a “pivot” for transferring meanings.
3. In the 1970’s Erving Goffman expanded Frame Theory to the area of inter-personal interactions. Even our scholarly discourse can bring into play either conflicting or complementary social frames that we might not be aware of. Examples are ethnicities, academic roles, personal friendships or animosities, gender roles, and of course theoretical allegiances.
4. Since the 1990’s a variation on Frame Theory has been used to analyze (and intervene in) social movements under International Relations Theory. Terminology such as Frame Bridging, Frame Alignment, Frame Resonance (salience), and Frame Transformation can also be applied to understanding theories of psychology (and education) as social movements.
I think it is necessary to introduce two concepts that haven’t been discussed in the literature (as far as I know). Not all cultures tolerate Frame Flexibility to the same extent and in all areas. Instead Frame Rigidity characterizes certain beliefs, customs, roles, and rituals that must not be reframed or altered. That is where social movements come in.