Chapter 4 Stasis and Framing

4.1 To-do list (Week 5)

4.2 What is Stasis?

  • What are the four questions to ask?

    • conjecture, definition, quality, policy
  • Courts. Agree to disagree

4.2.1 What is the Stasis?

  • Example 1: Tom was discovered burying the body of a man who had been stabbed. The witness did not see Tom stab the victim, but saw only Tom burying the body. Tom claims that he did not kill the victim, for the person was already dead when he found the body. Tom claims that he was performing the natural duty of burying a corpse rather than allowing it to be desecrated.

  • Example 2: Sean discovered that his coworker Reggie was planning to kidnap and murder a local official. Sean finds some rat poison and sneaks it into Reggie’s drink. Reggie drinks and dies. Sean confesses to killing Reggie and admits that the killing was premeditated murder.

  • source: examples on Stasis Theory and Pathways of Justice.

  • More resources

4.2.2 Think about the four questions

  • In-class activity: what is the Stasis?

    • The facts (conjecture): Does it exist?
    • The meaning or nature of the issue (definition): What is it?
    • The seriousness of the issue (quality): Is it good or bad?
    • The plan of action (policy): Should we do something about it?
  • ``Men never do evil so cheerfully and thoroughly as when they do it with religious conviction," says Blaise Pascal, the seventeenth-century French philosopher. Such a statement can readily be applied to some of the laws in the United States. A good example are the laws against the sale and possession of heroin. Our society has decided that heroin consumption is not good for the individual. On this I personally agree. But the question is whether we should outlaw those things which most of us agree are not good for the individual. (Walter E. William, “The Freedom to Destroy Yourself”)

  • I, a white male, have suffered from affirmative action. A major University told me they would love to hire me. But the department was all white and all male, and they were looking to hire a minority woman. I have been denied the chance to make a living because I am white and male. Yet I remain convinced that affirmative action is good social policy … Affirmative action may not always be fair. But I’m willing to take second best if overall fairness is achieved. After all, for biblical Christians, fairness — often translated in our Bibles as “justice” or “righteousness” — is a fundamental principle by which God calls us to live. And affirmative action is an appropriate part of a larger program aimed at achieving the godly goal of putting others’ welfare before my own. (Paul R. Spickard, “Why I Believe in Affirmative Action”)

  • source: These examples are taken from the Critical Reading Mini-Lessons offered at Brigham Young University.

4.2.3 Why do we need to talk about stasis?

4.2.4 The example of Kavanaugh

4.3 Speech 2

  • Without making a case for one side over another you should establish the issue that is at stake (Conjecture, Definition, Quality, Policy) and who the different stakeholders are. The issue would not be interesting, controversial or unsettled if it weren’t the case that there were in some sense competing values (moral or otherwise), interests, costs and probabilities of success at stake. Provide your audience with a CLEAR picture of the competing stakeholders, values, and positions that reflect the complexity inherent and make the issue an important one for us to consider.

  • The first thing you must do is decide what the primary STASIS (Conjecture, Definition, Quality, Policy) is that you are going to make clear for us. Please state BOTH your topic and the STASIS you are going to focus on at the beginning of your speech. Regardless of which STASIS you select you may include elements of the others. But your speech should reflect the centrality of the STASIS you choose. Build facts and data, history, moral values, policy options into the speech only to the degree that they clarify and focus our attention on the primary STASIS you have selected.

  • Remember that you only have 4.5-5 minutes. After doing research, collecting data, describing stakeholders, analyzing interests, probabilities of success, costs, consequences, goals and thinking about moral values you should take a step back and think like an architect: “How can I design a well-crafted speech with all of this material? What is essential and what is nonessential? How do I use the limited time most effectively to communicate the complexity of the situation?”

4.3.1 Content

  • Speech addresses a SPECIFIC issue that is well-defined with an explicit statement of a STASIS.
  • Speech employs RELEVANT data/information/values/history that contextualize and clarify the STASIS for the audience.
  • Speech avoids taking sides or proposing a specific solution even as it examines options. That doesn’t mean that I can’t predict what side you are going to advocate for. But you shouldn’t outright argue in favor of your advocated group. That will come in the next speech.
  • Speech BALANCES information (facts and data) with ORGANIZATION and CLARITY. Does your speech feel like stream-of-consciousness or a well-designed and crafted presentation?
  • Speech gives roughly equal time to each side.

4.4 What is your Stasis?

  • In-class activity: what is your Stasis?

    • The facts (conjecture): Does it exist?
    • The meaning or nature of the issue (definition): What is it?
    • The seriousness of the issue (quality): Is it good or bad?
    • The plan of action (policy): Should we do something about it?
  • general vs. specific; practical vs. theoretical; stasis

4.5 Framing

  • What does he mean by “terministic screens”?

  • What is the point?

  • ``Any given terminology is a reflection of reality, by its very nature as a terminology it must be a selection of reality, and to this extent it much function as a deflection of reality."

  • Read here for a short article on Branding.

4.5.1 Voyant activity

4.5.2 Importance of framing in politics

“Democrats and Republicans tend to have very different moral foundations. Whereas Democrats are more likely to pay attention to values like fairness, reciprocity and doing no harm in determining what is moral, Republicans are more likely to pay attention to things like in-group loyalty, respect for authority, and purity.” Two interesting examples:

  1. “environmental issues are reframed in terms of the conservative value of purity – emphasizing the importance of keeping our forests, drinking water, and skies pure – conservatives are much more likely to support this cause.”

  2. “reframing this cause to emphasise fairness – stating how the military can help the poor and disadvantaged and provide people with a reliable salary – makes liberals more likely to support increasing military spending.”

More reading on the research: From Gulf to Bridge: When Do Moral Arguments Facilitate Political Influence?. Another source: The power of framing: It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

4.5.3 George Lakoff

Framing shapes what we think. Idea Framing, Metaphors, and Your Brain.

4.5.4 Understand Trump

  • Who supports Trump and why? Discuss (intellectually!) in small groups.

  • Different moral worldviews originate from two worldviews about family: Nurturant Parent and Strict Father family. Here is a clip: The Left, the Right, and the Family View of Government.

    • The Moral Hierarchy: God above Man, Man above Nature, The Disciplined (Strong) above the Undisciplined (Weak), The Rich above the Poor …
    • variation among conservative: (1) white Evangelical Christians, (2) laissez-fair free market conservatives, and (3) pragmatic conservatives who are not bound by evangelical beliefs.
    • An example. John McCain. “McCain got shot down. Heroes are winners. They defeat big bad guys. They don’t get shot down. People who get shot down, beaten up, and stuck in a cage are losers, not winners.”
  • Other topics: Direct vs. Systemic Causation; Political Correctness

    • “Many of Trump’s policy proposals are framed in terms of direct causation.”
    • “He gives them a sense of self-respect, authority, and the possibility of power.”
  • Negating a frame.

    • “The more Trump’s views are discussed in the media, the more they are activated and the stronger they get, both in the minds of hardcore conservatives and in the minds of moderate progressives.”
    • This is true even if you are attacking Trump’s views. The reason is that negating a frame activates that frame. Richard Nixon - “I’m not a crook”.
  • His suggestion to Clinton: “constantly repeat your position, and avoid repeating Trump’s false claims.” Clinton Campaign’s response.

  • Some mechanisms:

    • Repetition: “Win. Win, Win. We’re gonna win so much you’ll get tired of winning.”
    • Framing: Crooked Hillary.
    • Grammar: Radical Islamic terrorists.

      • “Imagine calling the Charleston gunman a “radical Republican terrorist.”
      • “I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and it’s a very effective form of promotion.”
  • More examples on framing: Trump’s ‘public charge’ rule. Chain migration.

  • source: George Lakoff on Understand Trump. Read more on George Lakoff’s “Framing 101”.

4.5.5 More about the class (and assignments)

  • Importance of frame: Yes! Frame to facilitate conversation.

  • Always reframing? A note on why we are not doing it in this class.

4.6 Acknowledgement

The in-class activity of terministic screens is drawn from Visualizing and Analyzing Terministic Screens with Voyant. Here is another resource on Framing and Framing Theory (Compiled for Management 360).