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Bikes, trains and problem frames: framing the Little River Rail Trail : a dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters [i.e. Master] in [i.e. of] Applied Science (IRD) at Lincoln University

Brown, S. E.
Fields of Research
Problem framing is an analysis that has been widely applied in the field of environmental management. It is a way of investigating the diverse ways in which different stakeholders view, or frame, a problem or issue. Moreover, a framing analysis conceptualises problems as socially constructed as well as objective realities and therefore analyses how stakeholders communicate discursively about the same issue. There are many similarities between environmental management and development management, in particular, the diverse range of involved parties, each of whom have different levels of power and different interests. For this reason, this research applies a problem framing analysis to a community development project. The project focussed on the Little River Rail Trail, which is currently being developed on Banks Peninsula. The research looked in particular at how participants talked about the Rail Trail and how this related to their particular frames of reference. Moreover, the research investigated which ‘frames’ were privileged, and which excluded, and how frames were managed by the participants. The results showed that the different participants framed the Rail Trail in very different ways. Moreover, whilst there were dominant frames that occurred across a range of participants, there were other frames that were marginalised. It was also found that participants used a range of frame management strategies in order to manage competing or oppositional frames. The framing analysis provided a useful and holistic investigation of the LRRT that was contextual and flexible enough to tolerate a high level of diversity. Thus, it indicates that the framing analysis may help development professionals to better appreciate the diversity of frames present in particular projects, issues and problems and, in particular, be more aware of the discursive power functioning within these contexts.
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Digital dissertation can be viewed by current staff and students of Lincoln University only.