Public Opinion — the Whole Society or Only a Part of It?



The article deals with a disputable issue of setting the limits of public opinion. It discusses if public opinion is the common representation of the nation or may be reduced to opinion of a certain group, figured out because of its social class, level of awareness or some other basis. Historical reconstruction of the democratic idea of universal public participation in solving state problems, including analysis in political science paradigm, is given. The modern culture developed practices of transfer of authority in the course of voting for certain solutions. J. Fishkin's method of public opinion research os an emerging practice that regards preliminary "informed" opinion as the true public opinion. That opposes the common principle of "public opinion" identified with the whole population of a country.

General Information

Keywords: public opinion, common national participation, democracy, public opinion research, concept of public arenas, competition for public attention to problems, method of investigation of "enriched" public opinion.

Journal rubric: Applied Research and Practice

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Fedotova L.N. Public Opinion — the Whole Society or Only a Part of It?. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2011. Vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 100–110. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Larisa N. Fedotova, Doctor of Sociology, Professor, senior researcher at the Journalism faculty of the M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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