"What Is It That's Going on Here?": Community Partner Frames for Engagement

Rachael W. Shah


Frames—defined as mental structures built through language and symbols that categorize our thoughts and experiences—have a significant impact on partnerships, shaping how participants understand the nature of the collaboration. While scholars have explored how teachers might frame engagement partnerships for university students and administrators, the field has yet to deeply draw on framing theory to examine community partner frames. This article argues that framing theory can shed light on how intentional frames might foster healthier partnerships for community members, offering a robust tour of framing theory and illustrating its impact through an analysis of how one community leader frames a high school-college writing partnership for local youth—ultimately suggesting that community partners may have much to teach the field of community writing about how to use frames rhetorically in engagement contexts.

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Publication of the Community Literacy Journal is made possible through the generous support of the English Department and the Writing and Rhetoric Program at Florida International University. The CLJ is a journal of the Conference on Community Writing.