Deciding What Is a Controversial Issue: A Case Study of Social Studies Curriculum Controversy
Theory and Research in Social Education
National Council for the Social Studies
Frame analysis was used to examine how competing stakeholders framed a sixth grade curriculum controversy over whether the WWII internment of Japanese Americans should be categorized as a controversial issue. Teachers and administrators in a northwestern U.S. school claimed that the internment was clearly wrong and not controversial, but these claims were challenged by a small group of activists. Three data sets were analyzed: 11 semi-structured interviews, 40 public documents, and curriculum materials. Although activists could not change the school's claims, they were able to change the curriculum. Findings illustrate the ways that stakeholders in social studies curriculum controversies negotiate whether an issue should be categorized as controversial. Categorizations were dynamic and contingent on historical, contemporary, and ideological contexts.
Camicia, S. P. (2008). Deciding what is a controversial issue: A case study of social studies curriculum controversy. Theory and Research in Social Education, 35(4), 290-307.