ERIC Number: ED400594
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993
Meaningful Chaos: How People Form Relationships with Public Concerns. A Report.
Harwood, Richard C.; And Others
The formation of authentic public opinion requires confrontation with political realities and open discussion. This report presents findings of a study, conducted by The Harwood Group, that sought to describe the nature of the process through which citizens learn about public concerns and engage in them. The report argues that the seemingly chaotic process of forming opinions is actually one composed of meaningful patterns and principles. Data were derived from focus-group discussions with 6 groups representing a cross-section of American citizens, interviews with 13 experts, and a literature review. The study identified nine factors that play a pivotal role in citizens' involvement in public affairs: (1) a desire to make connections between public concerns; (2) personal context; (3) a desire for coherence; (4) a need for areas of ambivalence in the public arena; (5) emotion; (6) a desire for authenticity; (7) a desire to play a role in facilitating change; (8) individual catalysts in everyday life; and (9) mediating institutions that bring people together. (LMI)
Descriptors: Citizen Participation, Citizenship Responsibility, Political Attitudes, Political Issues, Public Affairs Education, Public Opinion, Public Policy, Social Attitudes
Kettering Foundation, Order Dept., P.O. Box 41626, Dayton, OH 45441 ($3).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Charles F. Kettering Foundation, Dayton, OH.
Authoring Institution: Harwood Group, Bethesda, MD.