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Framing Problems in Crisis Negotiation: Reframing in the Case of Waco
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing Problems: Reframing in the Case of the Waco Negotiatons Negotiator: David I told you that I am not in a [position Koresh: [O:h wha:t o:h so you don’t want to take up God’s [little task here huh. Negotiator: [It’s not that’s not the point. Koresh: Father it looks like you’re going to have to do your work. Negotiator: That is not the point David. Koresh: Oh it is the point where I come from. (Day 8 of the Waco negotiations, March 7, 1993 - tape 80) This opening exchange, taken from the negotiations between the FBI and David Koresh during the Standoff that occurred in Waco, Texas between February 28th and April 19th, 1993, illustrates an interactional problem the negotiators consistently faced. Just prior to the exchange, Koresh challenged the negotiator to find in the Bible a piece of prophetic information pertaining to Judgment Day. As this exchange shows in the negotiator and Koresh’s disagreement about “the point,” the problem the negotiators faced was convincing Koresh and his followers that coming out and surrendering was more important than discussing biblical and religious issues. In this paper I examine the Waco negotiations from the standpoint that the Davidians and the FBI had different worldviews manifested in their incompatible frames for the standoff and the negotiations. The first portion of the paper’s title, “Framing Problems” can be taken two different ways, as a noun and a verb. As a noun, which could be reworded as “problems with frames,” different frames can be identified to explain why the negotiations failed. Taken as a verb, “framing problems” refers to problems in framing a situation as an interactional activity. They are difficulties about and with the interaction, evidenced in the interaction. The two are related in that problems with different frames (the noun form of “framing problems”) is also

Authors: Agne, Robert.
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Framing Problems: Reframing in the Case of the Waco Negotiatons
Negotiator:
David I told you that I am not in a [position
Koresh:
[O:h wha:t o:h so you don’t
want to take up God’s [little task here huh.
Negotiator:
[It’s not that’s not the point.
Koresh:
Father it looks like you’re going to have to do your work.
Negotiator:
That is not the point David.
Koresh:
Oh it is the point where I come from.
(Day 8 of the Waco negotiations, March 7, 1993 - tape 80)
This opening exchange, taken from the negotiations between the FBI and David Koresh
during the Standoff that occurred in Waco, Texas between February 28th and April 19th, 1993,
illustrates an interactional problem the negotiators consistently faced. Just prior to the exchange,
Koresh challenged the negotiator to find in the Bible a piece of prophetic information pertaining
to Judgment Day. As this exchange shows in the negotiator and Koresh’s disagreement about
“the point,” the problem the negotiators faced was convincing Koresh and his followers that
coming out and surrendering was more important than discussing biblical and religious issues.
In this paper I examine the Waco negotiations from the standpoint that the Davidians and
the FBI had different worldviews manifested in their incompatible frames for the standoff and
the negotiations. The first portion of the paper’s title, “Framing Problems” can be taken two
different ways, as a noun and a verb. As a noun, which could be reworded as “problems with
frames,” different frames can be identified to explain why the negotiations failed. Taken as a
verb, “framing problems” refers to problems in framing a situation as an interactional activity.
They are difficulties about and with the interaction, evidenced in the interaction. The two are
related in that problems with different frames (the noun form of “framing problems”) is also


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