Narrative inversion as a tactical framing device
The ideological origins of the Nation of Islam
This paper will draw from recent work in the study of counter-narratives and will apply a sociologically informed perspective to the empirical analysis of discourse. By focusing on the Black Nationalist group The Nation of Islam (NOI) this article will introduce the counter-narrative strategy of “narrative inversion.” Based on discursive analysis of textual materials from early NOI speeches, recordings, and writings, we hope to show how the NOI employed a specific framing tactic of inverting American and Judeo-Christian master narratives to create a powerful ideological schema for attracting potential members. Our analysis demonstrates that early organizers of the NOI created counter-narratives by positioning themselves in direct opposition to the pervasive master narrative of white superiority. We will compare the NOI’s countering strategy to that of Martin Luther King’s moderate civil rights movement and show how the NOI was also able to capitalize on the more restrained messages of racial integration, non-violent protest, and racial reconciliation emanating from the moderate civil rights movement. The discursive process of inverting more moderate messages explains, to a great extent, the movement’s early success as a radical alternative to the mainstream civil rights movement.
Published online: 11 October 2010
Cited by 5 other publications
Lundholt, Marianne Wolff, Cindie Aaen Maagaard & Anke Piekut
Schoofs, Kim & Dorien Van De Mieroop
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