quarta-feira, agosto 02, 2006


The spiral of silence is a political science and mass communication theory propounded by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann. Published in Noelle-Neumann's book The Spiral of Silence : Public Opinion - Our Social Skin, the theory asserts that a person is less likely to voice an opinion on a topic if one feels that one is in the minority for fear of reprisal or isolation from the majority.
The media play a large part in determining what the dominant opinion is, since our direct observation is limited to a small percentage of the population. As the media's coverage of the majority opinion becomes the status quo, the minority becomes less likely to speak out. Conversely, as one feels one's position gaining popularity, one becomes more and more likely to speak about it.
The theory assumes that people are constantly assessing the public's opinion and that they use the media to do so. It also assumes that we have an inherent fear of isolation and know what opinions will bring on isolation by the majority. The theory explains a vocal minority by stating that there are always a few with less fear of isolation, calling them the challengers of public opinion. It further states that this minority is a necessary factor of change as well as the compliant majority is a necessary factor of stability, and thus both a product of evolution.
One way to combat the spiral of silence is to designate an individual within the group to be the devil's advocate. This position will allow the group members to freely discuss ideas without censorship overall creating a more productive environment
in Wikipedia