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Public Opinion

Hucker, Daniel



Public opinion is a notoriously slippery concept, but it has long been understood that it wields at least some influence on diplomacy. Over several centuries, conceptions of public opinion have evolved. Longstanding perceptions of public opinion as ignorant and volatile, and thus superfluous to foreign policy‐making, have been challenged by a redefinition of public opinion as prudent and rational, assuming a significant and rightful position within the diplomatic arena. Public opinion's ability to make itself heard has also increased, facilitated by developments in printing and international communications, the emergence of a “public sphere,” contributions from prominent philosophers, an extended franchise, and the proliferation of newspapers, radio, and television. The internet and social media have facilitated further a global public with an unprecedented level of information at its disposal, but the influence this public wields on diplomacy remains a point of contention. Moving forwards, public interest in diplomacy will only increase, making the scholarly study of the public opinion/foreign policy interface ever more important.


Hucker, D. (2018). Public Opinion. In The Encyclopedia of Diplomacy. Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley.

Acceptance Date Apr 27, 2018
Online Publication Date May 3, 2018
Publication Date 2018
Deposit Date Oct 10, 2019
Publisher Wiley
Edition 1st
Book Title The Encyclopedia of Diplomacy
ISBN 9781118887912
Public URL
Publisher URL