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Framing Problems in Crisis Negotiation: Reframing in the Case of Waco
Unformatted Document Text:  Reframing in the Waco Negotiations 15 to “commander” as one that applies to himself (“my commander”). Interestingly, there are no direct references to God surrounding this utterance to evidence any change in referent for “commander.” Yet use of “my” successfully recontextualizes it as “my commander” calls up the only reasonable authority figure to Koresh in light of what is known about his religious beliefs. This is also in sharp contrast to previous uses of the word in which it was usually in plural form and referring to them as “the” commanders. This recontextualization reframes the situation in such a way as to establish more than one hierarchical structure with which the negotiators had to contend. The two competing frames are revealed in the last two turns of the excerpt, in which the two accuse each other of hiding behind their respective command structures. Similar inter- textual recontextualizations to a religious frame occur with words such as “judiciary system.” Divisive Cooperation Divisive cooperation is somewhat similar to recontextualization in that it plays on word phrases to alter meaning. An additional aspect makes it a distinct hindrance to relational development. In such a practice, responses to requests or directives demonstrate cooperation; but certain linguistic and vocal features in demonstrating cooperation are used for also pitting parties’ competing goals against each other. As a comparison point for explaining divisive cooperation, I use Pomerantz’s (1984) notion of preferred and dispreferred responses in agreeing and disagreeing with assessments. She argues that in ordinary talk, participants orient toward a preference system that favors conversationally smooth turns, particularly when one participant offers an assessment. In most cases agreement to assessments are conversationally preferred since agreements are usually stated explicitly and without hesitation. 5 Disagreements, on the other hand, are dispreferred and are usually marked with hesitation, prefaces, hedges, and the like.

Authors: Agne, Robert.
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Reframing in the Waco Negotiations 15
to “commander” as one that applies to himself (“my commander”). Interestingly, there are no
direct references to God surrounding this utterance to evidence any change in referent for
“commander.” Yet use of “my” successfully recontextualizes it as “my commander” calls up the
only reasonable authority figure to Koresh in light of what is known about his religious beliefs.
This is also in sharp contrast to previous uses of the word in which it was usually in plural form
and referring to them as “the” commanders. This recontextualization reframes the situation in
such a way as to establish more than one hierarchical structure with which the negotiators had to
contend. The two competing frames are revealed in the last two turns of the excerpt, in which
the two accuse each other of hiding behind their respective command structures. Similar inter-
textual recontextualizations to a religious frame occur with words such as “judiciary system.”
Divisive Cooperation
Divisive cooperation is somewhat similar to recontextualization in that it plays on word
phrases to alter meaning. An additional aspect makes it a distinct hindrance to relational
development. In such a practice, responses to requests or directives demonstrate cooperation;
but certain linguistic and vocal features in demonstrating cooperation are used for also pitting
parties’ competing goals against each other.
As a comparison point for explaining divisive cooperation, I use Pomerantz’s (1984)
notion of preferred and dispreferred responses in agreeing and disagreeing with assessments.
She argues that in ordinary talk, participants orient toward a preference system that favors
conversationally smooth turns, particularly when one participant offers an assessment. In most
cases agreement to assessments are conversationally preferred since agreements are usually
stated explicitly and without hesitation.
5
Disagreements, on the other hand, are dispreferred and
are usually marked with hesitation, prefaces, hedges, and the like.


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