Instruments of Expression (I): Group Politics

  • Gary D. Rawnsley


To appreciate the importance of public opinion in modern democratic politics, it is not enough merely to understand what it is and how it is formed. We must also consider the aggregation of public opinion and some of the means of expressing it. After all, the issue is not so much what public opinion is, but rather why and how it should be communicated to have the desired effect. We turn first to understand groups and social movements as agents of political communication. Do they reflect public opinion as liberals believe, or do they create it as the critical theorists suppose? Does their decision to engage in direct action represents a method of expression or is it the epitome of crisis in representative government?


Public Opinion Social Movement Political Communication Group Politics Civil Disobedience 
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  1. 4.
    More detailed data on European party membership can be found in Peter Mair and Ingrid van Biezen, ‘Party membership in twenty European democracies, 1980–2000’, Party Politics 7(1), 2001:5–21. The figures presented here from Hague and Harrop are taken from Mair and van Biezen (Table 1, p. 9, Table A1, p. 15) but rounded up to the nearest whole figure.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Gary D. Rawnsley 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary D. Rawnsley
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NottinghamNingboChina (UNNC)

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