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DSPO 25A05 - Public Opinion & Democracy

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

In light of the recent electoral successes of radical and anti-establishment political leaders in Europe, the United States and Latin America, it is not uncommon to hear political pundits incriminate ordinary voters for their ignorance and for fears deemed irrational. In that context, what can polls teach us about the ability of ordinary citizens to form true opinions and an informed vote choice? During this semester, we will look at the different standards set by democratic theory in order for citizens to actually govern. We will review polling evidence showing how the public forms its political beliefs, how individuals connect those beliefs to a vote choice in line with their social and political identities, and how the media influences that process.


DEGEORGES, Adrien G. (Doctorant)

Course validation

Class participation (30%) Oral presentation (30%) Final paper (40%)

Required reading

Achen C. and L. Bartels. 2017. Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government, Princeton University Press.

Additional required reading

  • BARTELS, Larry (2008) Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age. Princeton University Press.
  • HETHERINGTON, M. J., & WEILER, J. D. (2009). Authoritarianism and polarization in American politics. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
  • INGLEHART Ronald, F., and Pippa NORRIS. (2016). "Trump, Brexit, and the Rise of Populism: Economic Have-Nots and Cultural Backlash". Harvard Kennedy School RWP16-026.
  • JOHNSTON, C. D., LAVINE, H. G., & FEDERICO, C. M. (2017). Open versus closed: Personality, identity, and the politics of redistribution. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.