• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Public opinion theory and research are becoming increasingly significant in modern societies as people’s attitudes and behaviors become ever more volatile and opinion poll data becomes ever more readily available. This major new Handbook is the first to bring together into one volume the whole field of public opinion theory, research methodology, and the political and social embeddedness of polls in modern societies. It comprehensively maps out the state-of-the-art in contemporary scholarship on these topics.

Spiral of Silence Theory
Spiral of silence theory

Formulated by Noelle-Neumann in the early 1970s, the spiral of silence theory is one of the most prominent theoretical models of opinion formation and consensus building in modern societies. Since its initial formulation, there have been more than three decades of research testing the key hypotheses of the theory and also its implicit assumptions. This chapter provides an overview of Noelle-Neumann's original work and critically discusses challenges to the theory and related follow-up research. It also highlights the continued importance of the spiral of silence model in public opinion research.

The spiral of silence model assumes that people are constantly aware of the opinions of people around them and adjust their behaviors (and potentially their opinions) to majority ...

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