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Reading Public Opinion: How Political Actors View the Democratic Process (Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion) Paperback – October 11, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0226327471 ISBN-10: 0226327477 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion
  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (October 11, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226327477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226327471
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,199,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The book is interesting and intriguing in that it provides a different look at how different people think public opinion. Some of the comments made by the previous online reviewer are contestable. She argues that "who cares about how political actors think." Obviously, everyone who is an interested in the relationship between public opinion and the democratic processes should care about how people occupying strategic positions in the political system - that is, political activists and journalists - think about public opinion. She says that if she asked her grandma about public opinion and the answer would be equally intriguing. Actually Prof Herbst will agree with this point since understanding how common people think about public opinion itself is an interesting and important question. It provides insights into the political culture of a society. Though Prof Herbst did not study common people's conception of public opinion in this book, she had done such research elsewhere. French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu argues that "public opinion does not exist," that is, the ideal version of public opinion - a single unified public providing their opinion as an autonomous force directing government policy - does not exist. However, public opinion remains a concept that people, politicians, and scholars in a democratic society talk about so often. Thus, it would be important for people to think about how different people in the society understand the term, and it is to this aspect that Prof Herbst recent work contributes.
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3 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book purports to be "provocative" and "important." It is neither. The empirical basis for the book is in-depth interviews with a purposive sample of "political actors." They apparently reveal what public opinion is. The big question is: Who cares what these political actors think? I might as well go ask my grandmother what public opinion is. It would be just as provactive and interesting. In this book, Prof. Herbst attempts to understand what public opinion is by asking others. In her previous book "Numbered Voices" she attempted to do this by looking at historical references. Here is a newsflash for Prof. Herbst: There is no such thing as public opinion -- stop wasting your time and ours.
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