ARENA Tuesday Seminar: Pieter de Wilde

At the Tuesday Seminar on 28 November, Pieter de Wilde will present his paper 'Responding to the public in the European Union: a process model of organizational mediatization'.


This paper aims to improve our understanding of responsiveness to public opinion in 21st century Europe. Responsiveness is a key component of democratic governance. Yet, many people do not feel like the government is responsive to them. Studying responsiveness to public opinion in the 21st century is also a major challenge to academic research. The standard model of studying responsiveness assumes that nation and state overlap and that polling data provide adequate information about public opinion. This is problematic in 21st century Europe. Many policies are made by the European Union, international organizations and agencies rather than the national government. Furthermore, the importance of media in political communication questions the status of polls as logical measurement of public opinion. Social media especially make it difficult to speak of a single, unitary national public to which one could respond, even if high quality polling data was available. This paper therefore develops and a new model of studying responsiveness to public opinion taking into account the challenges that globalization and mediatization pose to the standard model. This model can be applied to institutions at national and international level and frees the study of responsiveness from the necessary availability of high quality frequent polling. The new process model of responding to public opinion allows us to study whether governance institutions define and monitor public opinion, whether this observed public opinion plays a role in decision-making, and whether it affects institutional output. To equip this model, I draw on the literatures of organizational mediatization and communicative authority exercise.

Download the paper (restricted access)

Please note that this paper is work in progress and thus has limited distribution, please contact us if you would like access. Do not cite without permission from the author.


Published Aug. 1, 2017 9:21 AM - Last modified Nov. 20, 2017 2:02 PM