Publicity and Pluralistic Ignorance: Notes on ‘The Spiral of Silence’
It is strange, but true, that public opinion research, mass communications research and public opinion theory have become disconnected. It is difficult even to explain how any one of these can exist without the others, and yet the fact is that each has wandered off on its own. It is to the great credit of Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann that she has taken the lead in trying to bring them together again.1 Beginning with her call for a “return to a theory of powerful mass media”, Noelle-Neumann has been trying to show how the dynamics of media production and the dynamics of opinion formation interact, and how the process of this interaction can be described empirically by means of creative polling techniques.2 There may be room for debate over her inferences from the data, but nobody can underestimate the importance of her attempt to put the whole together.
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- 2.Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, “Return to the Concept of Powerful Mass Media”, in H. Eguchi and K. Sata (eds.) Studies of Broadcasting, No. 9, NHK, Tokyo, 1973, pp. 67–112.Google Scholar
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- 9.A sophisticated discussion of this problem is Alvin Gouldner, Dialectics of Ideology and Technology, Macmillan, London 1976.Google Scholar
- 15.These cases are discussed in Dina Goren, Secrecy and the Right to Know, Turtledove Press, Tel Aviv, 1979.Google Scholar
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- This paper is in sharp criticism of Elihu Katz and Paul Lazarsfeld, Personal Influence, The Free Press, Glencoe, 1956.Google Scholar
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