Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Robert D. Benford, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Laurel D. Graham, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shawn C. Bingham, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carl G. Herndl, Ph.D.


Social movements, Framing, Interaction, Climate, Discourse, Technology


This dissertation examines frame disputes within the environmental movement over geoengineering proposals. Among other core framing tasks, social movement organizations must evaluate solutions and strategies for the social problems they seek to address. These framings are frequently disputed by those within the movement. Recent controversies regarding a set of climate intervention proposals commonly known as geoengineering offer the opportunity to document the ongoing construction of competing visions of environmental sustainability. The nascent quality of these proposals generate dissonant framings—episodes where organizations within the environmental movement exhibit disagreement about one or more core framing tasks—a situation Goffman referred to as a “frame dispute.” I present the results of a frame analysis of websites, blog posts, and other online discourse produced between 2005 and 2015 by 16 environmental movement organizations about geoengineering. The findings illustrate the influence of frame disputes on the realization of movement goals and the dynamic interdependence of movement framing activities. For example, increased attention to frame resonance did not attenuate prognostic frame disputes during the period analyzed. Analyzing frame disputes generates useful insights for studies seeking to analyze collective identity construction processes and dynamics within and between social movement organizations.