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date: 23 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay explores a variety of ways that the problem of inequality has been framed in the context of national policy debates in the United States. Following an introduction to the notion of inequality as a social problem, the chapter provides a brief review of how framing has been examined as a communications process and a strategic resource. The framing of inequality as a focus of public policy debates is described in relation to a selection of issues that include health disparities, racial inequality, and the digital divide. An additional assessment is made of the use of comparative risk as a framework for highlighting differences between groups defined by race, ethnicity and social class. The framing of environmental risks is examined in relation to a social justice frame. The author concludes with a discussion of constraints on the use of particular frames within debates about economic social policy.

Keywords: framing, public policy formation, mass media, strategic communication, comparative risk, race and ethnicity, poverty, injustice

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