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Reading Public Opinion: How Political Actors View the Democratic Process (Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion)

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Public opinion is one of the most elusive and complex concepts in democratic theory, and we do not fully understand its role in the political process. Reading Public Opinion offers one provocative approach for understanding how public opinion fits into the empirical world of politics. In fact, Susan Herbst finds that public opinion, surprisingly, has little to do with the mass public in many instances.

Herbst draws on ideas from political science, sociology, and psychology to explore how three sets of political participants—legislative staffers, political activists, and journalists—actually evaluate and assess public opinion. She concludes that many political actors reject "the voice of the people" as uninformed and nebulous, relying instead on interest groups and the media for representations of public opinion. Her important and original book forces us to rethink our assumptions about the meaning and place of public opinion in the realm of contemporary democratic politics.

Synopsis:

Public opinion is one of the most elusive and complex concepts in democratic theory, and we do not fully understand its role in the political process. Reading Public Opinion offers one provocative approach for understanding how public opinion fits into the empirical world of politics. In fact, Susan Herbst finds that public opinion, surprisingly, has little to do with the mass public in many instances.

Herbst draws on ideas from political science, sociology, and psychology to explore how three sets of political participants--legislative staffers, political activists, and journalists--actually evaluate and assess public opinion. She concludes that many political actors reject "the voice of the people" as uninformed and nebulous, relying instead on interest groups and the media for representations of public opinion. Her important and original book forces us to rethink our assumptions about the meaning and place of public opinion in the realm of contemporary democratic politics.

About the Author

Susan Herbst is president of the University of Connecticut. She previously served as executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at the University System of Georgia, as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at SUNY-Albany, as dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Temple University, and as a professor of political science and communication studies and chair of the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1: The "Construction" of Public Opinion: Looking to Lay Theory

2: Policy Experts Think about Public Opinion, Media, and Legislative Process

3: Journalistic Views of Public Opinion

4: Conceptions of Public Opinion and Representation among Partisan Activists

5: Meanings of Public Opinion: Lay Theory Meets Democratic Theory

App. A: Notes on Interviews and Building Grounded Theory

App. B: Interview Protocols

App. C: Survey Form

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226327464
Author:
Herbst, Susan
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Congress
Subject:
Public opinion
Subject:
Journalists
Subject:
Attitudes
Subject:
General Social Science
Subject:
Public opinion -- United States.
Subject:
Journalists -- United States -- Attitudes.
Subject:
General Political Science
Subject:
Politics - General
Edition Description:
1
Series:
Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion (Hardcover)
Publication Date:
19981031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
3 line drawings, 6 tables
Pages:
266
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

Reading Public Opinion: How Political Actors View the Democratic Process (Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion) New Hardcover
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Product details 266 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226327464 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Public opinion is one of the most elusive and complex concepts in democratic theory, and we do not fully understand its role in the political process. Reading Public Opinion offers one provocative approach for understanding how public opinion fits into the empirical world of politics. In fact, Susan Herbst finds that public opinion, surprisingly, has little to do with the mass public in many instances.

Herbst draws on ideas from political science, sociology, and psychology to explore how three sets of political participants--legislative staffers, political activists, and journalists--actually evaluate and assess public opinion. She concludes that many political actors reject "the voice of the people" as uninformed and nebulous, relying instead on interest groups and the media for representations of public opinion. Her important and original book forces us to rethink our assumptions about the meaning and place of public opinion in the realm of contemporary democratic politics.

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