From a sociology of public opinion to a mediology of the doxasphere

Stefano Cristante


After the classic theories by Habermas and Noelle-Neumann on public opinion and the achievements of opinion polls during the last decades, we need a new approach based upon Bourdieu's intuition that “the state of opinion is, in a given moment, a system of forces and powers”. The essay  embraces the vision of public opinion as a permanent state of conflict among four performative environments: decision makers, media, interest and pressure groups, multitudes.

Each environment draws specific actors intended as the main characters of the doxasphere, a general place to shape the conflicts. Every actor has different purposes, such as legitimation for the decision-makers (parties, leaders and governments), influence for the pressure groups,  communication for the media, quality of life for the multitudes.

The increasing importance and authority of media – both actors and battle field for the other actors – re-define the contemporary conflicts of opinion. The doxasphere lives in a new state of change also because of the successful spread of social media and the internet. This is the main reason to go beyond the solely sociological vision of public opinion, seeking a mediological model for theoretical investigations and operating researches.

Palabras clave

public opinion; media; interest groups; conflict; moltitude

Texto completo: PDF (Italiano)


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