Public Opinion and Foreign Policy.pdf

Public Opinion and Foreign Policy.pdf - Public Opinion and...

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Public Opinion and Foreign Policy: Challenges to the Almond-Lippmann Consensus Mershon Series: Research Programs and Debates Author(s): Ole R. Holsti Reviewed work(s): Source: International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 4 (Dec., 1992), pp. 439-466 Published by: Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of The International Studies Association Stable URL: . Accessed: 08/11/2012 03:12 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] . Wiley-Blackwell and The International Studies Association are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to International Studies Quarterly.
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International Studies Quarterly (1992) 36, 439-466 Public Opiniion and Foreign Policy: Challenges to the Almond-Lippmann Consensus Mershon Series: Research Programs and Debates OLE R. HOLSTI Duke University This article surveys and assesses theories and research on public opinion and foreign policy. Most of the evidence is drawn from the literature on the United States. Three twentieth-century wars have had a significant impact on theory and scholarship. World War I-the first public rela- tions war-and postwar efforts to create a new international order directed much attention to the nature of public opinion and its impact on foreignaffairs, issues on which realists and liberals came to quite different conclusions. The period surrounding World War II coincided with the development of scientific polling. Much of the attention during and immediately after the war focused on the extent to whichthe public might support or oppose an internationalist American role. Extensive research during the first two decades after WorldWar II yieldeda broad agreement (the "Almond-Lippmann consensus") on three propositions about public opinion: (1) it is volatile and thus provides inadequate foundations for stable and effective foreign policies, (2) it lacks coher- ence or structure, but (3) in the final analysis, it has little if any impact on foreign policy. The Vietnam War and its aftermath stimulated a new outburst of research activity on public opinion and foreign policy, much of which has challenged each of these three propositions. The article concludes with suggestions for further research efforts, including: (1) case studies employing archival sourcesto assess more directly the impact of public opinion, (2) cross-national studies, (3) development of stan- dard questions in order to encourage better cumulation of survey results, and (4) research that willenable us to distinguish findings that are time- and context-bound from those that transcend the Cold War period.
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