The Role of the Public

  • Deon Geldenhuys


The role of the people in the formation of foreign policy is in academic literature, as in political debate, a contentious subject. There are, on the one hand, scholars who see the public making little or no positive contribution, if not actually being a hindrance, to foreign policy making. On the other hand, there is the notion that in a democracy also a government’s foreign policy should be subject to popular control.1 The dialectic essentially deals with the political role of the people as “an unorganised whole”, that is, with public opinion as it is commonly understood. This is only one possible level of analysis. The other is to consider the public’s role as articulated by organised groups, which in effect serve as intermediaries between government and people.2


Foreign Policy Foreign Affair Opinion Survey Foreign Ministry South African Government 
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Notes to the Text

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© D. J. Geldenhuys and the South African Institute of International Affairs 1984

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  • Deon Geldenhuys

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