Public opinion and the "problem of information"

The term public opinion first gained popularity the 18th Century European enlightenment. Today, because of its centrality to the rationale of advanced liberal democracies, public opinion constitutes a nexus between the worlds of formal and everyday politics. This chapter outlines a tension between t...

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Main Author: Susan Condor
Format: Default Book chapter
Published: 2016
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Online Access:https://hdl.handle.net/2134/17546
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spelling rr-article-94789192016-01-01T00:00:00Z Public opinion and the "problem of information" Susan Condor (1251486) Other human society not elsewhere classified Other language, communication and culture not elsewhere classified untagged Language, Communication and Culture not elsewhere classified Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified The term public opinion first gained popularity the 18th Century European enlightenment. Today, because of its centrality to the rationale of advanced liberal democracies, public opinion constitutes a nexus between the worlds of formal and everyday politics. This chapter outlines a tension between two competing assumptions about the relationship between public opinion and rational democratic governance. On the one hand, public opinion is treated as the ultimate source of political authority. On the other hand, the everyday opinion of mass publics is understood to be too heavily motivated by personal self-interest, and too deficient in factual understanding to ever serve as a legitimate basis for the governance of complex modern societies. In the second part of the chapter I present a case study from my own research on vernacular political reasoning, focusing on the phenomenon of empty attitudes: sincere opinions on matters of public debate which can be satisfactorily justified without recourse to detailed factual information. 2016-01-01T00:00:00Z Text Chapter 2134/17546 https://figshare.com/articles/chapter/Public_opinion_and_the_problem_of_information_/9478919 CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
institution Loughborough University
collection Figshare
topic Other human society not elsewhere classified
Other language, communication and culture not elsewhere classified
untagged
Language, Communication and Culture not elsewhere classified
Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
spellingShingle Other human society not elsewhere classified
Other language, communication and culture not elsewhere classified
untagged
Language, Communication and Culture not elsewhere classified
Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
Susan Condor
Public opinion and the "problem of information"
description The term public opinion first gained popularity the 18th Century European enlightenment. Today, because of its centrality to the rationale of advanced liberal democracies, public opinion constitutes a nexus between the worlds of formal and everyday politics. This chapter outlines a tension between two competing assumptions about the relationship between public opinion and rational democratic governance. On the one hand, public opinion is treated as the ultimate source of political authority. On the other hand, the everyday opinion of mass publics is understood to be too heavily motivated by personal self-interest, and too deficient in factual understanding to ever serve as a legitimate basis for the governance of complex modern societies. In the second part of the chapter I present a case study from my own research on vernacular political reasoning, focusing on the phenomenon of empty attitudes: sincere opinions on matters of public debate which can be satisfactorily justified without recourse to detailed factual information.
format Default
Book chapter
author Susan Condor
author_facet Susan Condor
author_sort Susan Condor (1251486)
title Public opinion and the "problem of information"
title_short Public opinion and the "problem of information"
title_full Public opinion and the "problem of information"
title_fullStr Public opinion and the "problem of information"
title_full_unstemmed Public opinion and the "problem of information"
title_sort public opinion and the "problem of information"
publishDate 2016
url https://hdl.handle.net/2134/17546
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