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Public Opinion - Essay Example

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Public Opinion

Therefore public opinion has become a valuable aspect of governance. In this case the evolution of technology and more democratic forms of govern which has kept the upholding of the right of individual has seen a dramatic evolution in giving of information to all people. One of the recent developments in the public opinion arena has been the opinion polls that have been used to give various information or views of the public on certain issues. They have been successful use in political pundits, market researches, national government agendas, and in other areas. Sociologists have relied on opinion polls in order to determine the success or failure of an event based on the views of the public. However opinion polls and other public view are contested notion that are likely to change overnight depending on what will be happening next. (Entman and Herbst 2001, P. 242; McCombs 2004, p. 63)
The development of public opinion can be traced to many years ago during the time of Greek civilization. The quest on the nature of public opinion was first expressed by Plato who was a great Greek philosopher and who made immense contribution to the modern body of knowledge. From Plato the quest for the nature of public opinion can then be traced back to Herbamans and later to Bourdieu who seemed to contest the ability to have public opinion. Let us focus on the view of Bourdieu on public opinion and why he contested the existence of public opinion.
The expression of the nature of public opinion according to Bourdieu can be traced to what he wrote in his book. He asserted the "the politician who yesterday said 'God is on our side' today says 'public opinion is on our side'". (Bourdieu 1979, pg. 125)
According to Bourdieu, he was criticizing the notion that political have a way of relying on the views of the public which is done solely for source of support. In this case he was trying to show that the power of the politicians if vested in the people. The public have more power and control of the political situation in a state rather than the politician. This can also be attributed to what Aristotle referred to as a weak king when he asserted that a king who lost support of the public opinion should not be regarded as a king any more.
In this case it is clear that the modern understanding of democracy and the politics can be taken in a way that political power should be vested on the people and should be responsibility of the people and their opinions. But the way Bourdieu compared political power with God detest the power of the public opinion.
Bourdieu views public opinion as a manufactured consent and not as a traditional ways of research that can be used to give accurate information on something. He argued that public opinion in the form that is implemented is used in survey and poll is not efficient and does not exist. In this case he showed that opinion polls are used by those in power as a political instrument that legitimize their actions. They are relations of forces and tension and therefore they cannot be described as a percentage in any way.
In his criticism of the polls, Bourdieu asserts that each and every one of use has an opinion that can be given on an idea. He stressed that all the ...Show more


In the history of human beings seeking of other opinions is common. There are many instances where people have come together and sought the opinion of others regarding a situation. In this case public opinion is an important aspect which helps us to get the feeling or the view of other on a certain issues…
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