Rockridge Institute

Rockridge Institute

The Rockridge Institute was an American non-profit research and progressive think tank located in Berkeley, California. Its stated goal was to strengthen democracy by providing intellectual support to the progressive community. [ [ About Us — Rockridge Institute ] ] The Rockridge Institute promoted progressive ideas and values, studied their implications, and worked to provide an effective articulation of those values to shift public discourse.

The think tank was shut down on April 30, 2008. [ [ The Rockridge Era Ends] ]


Founded by the prominent cognitive linguist George Lakoff, the Rockridge Institute seeks to examine the way that frames—the mental structures that influence our thinking, often unconsciously—determine our opinions and values. [ [ Welcome to Berkeley Linguistics ] ] [ [ Politics & Economy. George Lakoff: Biography | PBS] , NOW with Bill Moyers] Based on extensive research in human cognition, the Rockridge Institute argues that the way an issue is framed—the language used to describe it and the metaphors used to understand it—influences our political views as much, or more, than the particulars of a given policy. [ [ NPR: The Thinking Behind Red and Blue States ] , Talk of the Nation, 2004-10-12]

Accordingly, the Rockridge Institute attempts to monitor the manipulative use of framing, particularly by right wing organizations and politicians, and to promote frames that encourage progressive thinking. A much discussed example of framing is the Bush administration's use of the phrase war on terror to describe its policies following the September 11th attacks. The use of the "war" metaphor, the Rockridge Institute and others have contended, has had a tremendous effect on U.S. policy and public debate. [ [ It's Not a 'War' on Terror] , The Nation, 2006-09-08] Ithas allowed the president to assume war powers, makes opposition to the "war" seem unpatriotic, and was used to justify the invasion of Iraq, although no link between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein was ever established. [cite news | first=R. Jeffrey | last=Smith | coauthors= | title=Hussein's Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted | date=2007-04-06 | publisher= | url = | work =Washington Post | pages =A01 | accessdate = 2008-03-22 | language = ] If the U.S. response to September 11th had been framed as a criminal proceeding, the Rockridge Institute and others argue, such extraordinary measures would never have garnered sufficient political support. [Brzezinski, Zbigniew, [ Terrorized by ‘War on Terror’] , Truthdig, 2007-03-07]

The Rockridge Institute sought to raise consciousness about manipulative framing and to propose progressive frames on a wide range of issues, including the economy, immigration, religion, and the environment.


The Rockridge Institute announced its closure in April, 2008.

ee also

*George Lakoff
*Glenn W Smith

External links

* [ Public Eye on Lakoff and framing]
* [ Rockridge Institute website]
* [ Rockridge Nation (Rockridge Institute community blog)]
* [ Lakoff's "Thinking Points" available on line]
* [ Eleanor Clift on Republican framing strategies]


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