Global Interdependence

global interdependence

From 1999- 2001, FrameWorks Institute was commissioned by the Aspen Institute to conduct a series of research projects to determine how Americans think about global interdependence. The purpose of this research was to "develop and deploy a way of talking about international engagement that will make global issues more salient and more mobilizing in the eyes of the American public... (and enabling) citizens' groups to argue on behalf of specific causes within a coherent, consistent, ethical and practical worldview that promotes cooperative international engagement across a broad range of issues and appeals to a broad range of audiences."

Our Funders

This project was generously supported by the Aspen Institute.

Research & Recommendations


Framing Studies and Global Interdependence
This comprehensive strategic message memo synthesizes the research findings and makes recommendations for how to apply these findings in the context of FrameWorks' total research on Global Interdependence.

Promoting American Engagement: A Catalog of Recommended Frames and Language (2001).  This report builds on findings from the research by providing a catalog of reframes to promote and reinforce the goals of the Global Interdependence Initiative. 

Primed and Suspect: How the Public Responds to Different Frames On Global Issues (2001).  This report shares the results of a national telephone survey of 2400 adults. The survey was constructed to understand the impact of “priming” the public with certain frames when speaking about this issue.

The Mind and The World: Changing the Very Idea of American Foreign Policy (2000).  This report, based in cognitive linguistics, suggests directions communicators might take when working to change American understanding of foreign policy. This research paper is a distilled version of a larger report.

Policymakers and International Engagement (2000).  This report shares the results of 10 in-depth interviews with policymakers and experts working in organizations involved in international activities. Interviews conducted with experts help to form an understanding of the challenges advocates may face when communicating about this issue.

A Window on the Storm: How TV Global News Promotes a Cognitive "Refuge Stance" (2000).  This cognitive media analysis reports on the findings from reviewing over 1000 television news stories for cognitive patterns in communications. Researchers concluded that the type of information presented and the manner in which it is framed are likely to encourage Americans to observe international events from a “safe refuge, spectating rather than participating actively in them.”

The Myopic Neighbor: Local and National Network Television Coverage of the World
(2000).  This analysis of national and local news coverage provided a sample of 10,243 stories and 206 hours and 14 minutes of television coverage. Researchers sampled news coverage twice in one year. The first four-week period, September 29 – October 24, 1999, was considered a “benchmark” period with no major international events. The second period, November 28 – December 5, 1999, allowed an examination WTO coverage.

Veterans of Perception: GII Antecedents in the Literature on Media and Foreign Policy (2000).  This review and analysis of the literature of foreign policy communications revealed five key themes in the framing of international affairs stories: bad news, bad views, whose news, shutterbug diplomacy, and getting framed. Each of these themes is explained and explored in depth.

Four Habits of International News Reporting (1999).  An analysis of international news coverage from major news outlets June 21-July 10, 1999. Researchers identify and explore the main trends in this reporting: formulaic coverage; sensationalized language; analogies, metaphors and images to underscore sensationalism; and the American lens through which these stories are told.

Metaphorical Thought (1999).  This report, grounded in cognitive linguistics, explores the different metaphors used by experts and the general public to understand and communicate about international relations.

10 Differences Between Public and Expert Understandings of International Affairs (1999).  This analysis of 100 news articles and opinion pieces on foreign affairs from the mainstream print builds on the findings from earlier research with the American public. Researchers found two distinct, over-arching themes in coverage- the idea of the “Discrete Country” and that of the “Global System.”

American Understandings of the United States' Role in the World: Findings from Cognitive Interviews (1999).  15 in-depth interviews with community members of different age groups, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and political persuasions revealed that Americans generally have no cultural model for understanding international relations other than those that are borrowed from the interpersonal domain.

Public Attitudes Toward Foreign Affairs (1999).  This analysis of existing survey research explores major themes in public opinion. Two major themes examined in this paper are: “Americans feel the weight of world leadership,” and “though Americans express little interest in international news, they care more about global problems than most polls indicate.”

Products & Tools

A Framer Reads The News (2001). This article examines frames in the news in three articles from the Washington Post from 2001.

September 11, 2001 (2001).  This article examines the metaphors and frames used in communicating about the events that occurred on September 11, 2001.


FrameWorks Institute

  Updated: 06/24/16