Robust Discourse and the Politics of Legitimacy: Framing International Intervention in the Syrian Civil War, 2011–2016

Sociological Science. 2019;6(24):635-660 DOI 10.15195/v6.a24


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Journal Title: Sociological Science

ISSN: 2330-6696 (Online)

Publisher: Society for Sociological Science

LCC Subject Category: Social Sciences: Sociology (General)

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF



Eric W. Schoon (The Ohio State University)
Scott W. Duxbury (The Ohio State University)


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Time From Submission to Publication: 6 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Legitimacy is widely invoked as a master frame in international political discourse. During episodes of contention, this frame is used by opposing sides to advance competing interpretations of the same social problems. Through an analysis of elite political discourses surrounding international intervention in the Syrian Civil War, we examine what distinguishes the effectiveness of actors' framing efforts when they use a shared frame to advance conflicting agendas. We show how features of the objects (i.e., what or who) being framed shape the resonance and stability of the framing. Moreover, we show how framing objects that can be coherently interpreted in multiple ways facilitate the cultivation of discourses that are consistent despite changing social conditions and the evolution of framers' goals. We refer to this as robust discourse and elaborate on the implications of this concept.