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Framing Problems in Crisis Negotiation: Reframing in the Case of Waco
Unformatted Document Text:  Reframing in the Waco Negotiations 4 callers expected a different kind of service than the call-takers expected to provide. Her analysis showed how calls displayed differences in expectations between a “customer service” and “public service” frame. Differences were shown in expectations about amount of information the caller was responsible for providing, geographical boundaries of service, and the time between calling and provision of service. Framing differences also arise in intercultural situations. Studying Japanese and American group discussions, Watanabe (1993) showed that the two groups had different expectations about who would speak first and last in the session, how reasons for ideas and decisions were presented, and how arguments were supported. Providing some background to the Branch Davidians, David Koresh’s role in the group, and the standoff will show the conflict of frames between the Davidians and FBI that made the negotiations so difficult for the negotiators. The Waco Negotiations The Branch Davidians and David Koresh The Branch Davidians, founded in 1934 by Victor Houteff, were a sect of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Up to the conclusion of the standoff, they lived in a community approximately ten miles southeast of Waco, Texas they had named Mount Carmel Center. A millenialist approach to scriptural interpretation shaped the lives of the Davidians, but in 1988 when David Koresh became the leader, the Mt. Carmel group’s beliefs took a strong apocalyptical turn. The Davidians adhered to an interpretation of the Bible that predicted that the end of the world would involve a confrontation between God's true believers and the forces of the United Nations (led by the United States). The predictions were rooted primarily in Revelation, the last book of the Bible. Revelation describes a book (or scroll) in the right hand of God secured with

Authors: Agne, Robert.
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Reframing in the Waco Negotiations 4
callers expected a different kind of service than the call-takers expected to provide. Her analysis
showed how calls displayed differences in expectations between a “customer service” and
“public service” frame. Differences were shown in expectations about amount of information
the caller was responsible for providing, geographical boundaries of service, and the time
between calling and provision of service. Framing differences also arise in intercultural
situations. Studying Japanese and American group discussions, Watanabe (1993) showed that
the two groups had different expectations about who would speak first and last in the session,
how reasons for ideas and decisions were presented, and how arguments were supported.
Providing some background to the Branch Davidians, David Koresh’s role in the group,
and the standoff will show the conflict of frames between the Davidians and FBI that made the
negotiations so difficult for the negotiators.
The Waco Negotiations
The Branch Davidians and David Koresh
The Branch Davidians, founded in 1934 by Victor Houteff, were a sect of the Seventh
Day Adventist Church. Up to the conclusion of the standoff, they lived in a community
approximately ten miles southeast of Waco, Texas they had named Mount Carmel Center. A
millenialist approach to scriptural interpretation shaped the lives of the Davidians, but in 1988
when David Koresh became the leader, the Mt. Carmel group’s beliefs took a strong
apocalyptical turn.
The Davidians adhered to an interpretation of the Bible that predicted that the end of the
world would involve a confrontation between God's true believers and the forces of the United
Nations (led by the United States). The predictions were rooted primarily in Revelation, the last
book of the Bible. Revelation describes a book (or scroll) in the right hand of God secured with


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