Topic one: Public opinion and the public sphere

Generating Genuine Demand for Accountability

Public opinion and the public sphere

Public opinion processes matter deeply for the success of governance reform. Here, we introduce the concepts of public opinion and the public sphere as dynamic elements in governance reform efforts. Understanding these concepts and processes is essential in ensuring genuine and effective citizen demand for accountability and in crafting strategic and effective communication strategies. It is only through effective communication among stakeholders in the public sphere that accountability can be genuinely ensured.

We will first cover the various stakeholders in the public sphere and the key dynamics that shape the public sphere in a given context. We define communication, public opinion, and learn about why these concepts matter for proponents of governance reform. Beyond mere definition, we’ll move into action – how to mobilize the public to genuinely and effectively demand change.

Learning objectives By the end of this module you will:

Define public opinion, the public sphere, and communication and understand the importance of each of these concepts
Explain the five interactive pillars of the democratic sphere and their strategic importance in creating an enabling environment in which citizens can participate effectively and actively demand accountability from the state and
Explain the different types of publics, their different characteristics, and their differing modes of engagement in the accountability agenda


Last modified: Thursday, 7 August 2014, 3:34 PM