Skip to content

Overton Window

Category
Society
Overton Window

Definition

Range of ideas tolerated in public discourse, according to current climates that will tend to exclude extreme perspectives.

Origin

Named for professor Joseph P. Overton, who developed the concept in the mid-1990s. (source)

Everyday Use

How things are framed is such an important part of the dialogue -- not just in politics or in society, but within ourselves. Through framing, arguments can be won or lost before we even get to the table for the debate. The Overton Window reminds us to acknowledge the scope in which we are being asked to maneuver — and there are times when where we want to be is beyond those narrow bands.