From Research to Practice
Edited by Nicola F. Dotti
Chapter 12: Visual framing for policy learning: internet as the ‘eye of the public’
Policy learning about policy controversies can benefit from critical and opposing citizens, activists and NGOs. Rather than attempting to educate this ‘ignorant’ public, these actors and their framings – both in words and images – of policy issues should be included in policy learning as an important source of information. In this chapter, visual framings have been explored in the case of the shale gas controversy in the Netherlands. This study demonstrates that the visuals distributed on the internet are most of all ‘referential’, informational images; while, some ‘condensation’ – emotion stirring images – are constructed. However, very often the images convey information about emotions, concerns and controversial ‘facts’, and referential images contain normative messages. For policy learning, these images can be used as information about (1) concerns of stakeholders; (2) interpretive struggles over facts and uncertainties; and (3) reframing of a policy issue, either tacitly or in reflective conversations.
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