Framing the Pipeline Problem: Civic Claimsmakers and Social Media

Authors

  • Maria Bakardjieva CCA, ICA, ECREA, AoIR
  • Mylynn Felt Ph.D. candidate in the program in Communication, Department of Communication, Media and Film, University of Calgary
  • Rhon Teruelle postdoctoral fellow, Department of Communication Media and Film, University of Calgary

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2018v43n1a3316

Keywords:

Social media, Social movements, Collective action, Framing, Kinder Morgan pipeline, Facebook groups / Médias sociaux, Mouvements sociaux, Action collective, Cadrage, Pipeline Kinder Morgan, Groupes Facebook

Abstract

Background  This article responds to the need for additional research into the role that social media play in the debate on energy transition in Canada.

Analysis  Based on a qualitative case study of the most recent protests against the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, this article raises questions concerning the strengths and weaknesses of the contemporary communication opportunity structure for “claimsmaking” (as Joel Best defines it in Social Problems) and achieving public resonance by the civic grassroots in Canada.

Conclusions and implications  This article investigates the ways in which social media have become a site for framing collective action by pipeline opponents. It documents how citizens and civic organizations combine online and offline tools and tactics to take part in the shaping of public understanding of pipeline projects in Canada and in the influencing of energy policy and decision-making.

Contexte  Cet article répond au besoin de recherches additionnelles sur le rôle joué par les médias sociaux dans le débat sur la transition énergétique au Canada.

Analyse  Cet article se base sur une étude de cas qualitative sur les manifestations les plus récentes contre le projet de pipeline Kinder Morgan afin de relever les forces et faiblesses de la structure d’opportunités communicationnelles contemporaines pour la formulation de demandes (telle que définie par Joel Best dans Social Problems) et la conscientisation du public par les mouvements populaires au Canada.

Conclusions et implications  Cet article explore les manières dont les médias sociaux sont devenus un site important pour déterminer l’action collective que les opposants aux pipelines peuvent mener. Il documente comment les citoyens et les organismes civiques combinent des outils et tactiques en ligne et hors ligne afin d’influencer la perception publique à l’égard de projets de pipeline au Canada ainsi que les politiques et la prise de décisions sur l’énergie en général.

This article responds to the need for additional research into the role that social media play in the debate on energy transition in Canada. Based on a qualitative case study of the most recent protests against the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, we raise questions concerning the strengths and weaknesses of the contemporary communication opportunity structure forclaimsmaking and achieving public resonance by the civic grassroots in Canada. We investigate the ways in which social media have become a site for framing collective action by pipeline opponents. We document how citizens and civic organizations combine online and offline tools and tactics to take part in the shaping of public understanding of pipeline projects in Canada and to influence energy policy and decision-making. 

Author Biography

Maria Bakardjieva, CCA, ICA, ECREA, AoIR

Professor in Communication, Department of Communication, Media and Film

Published

2018-03-15