Stamping their ground: A study of public opinion and activists

Courtney, Gina & Mehta, Amisha (2006) Stamping their ground: A study of public opinion and activists. In Australian & New Zealand Communication Association International Conference, 2006: Empowerment, Creativity and Innovation: Challenging Media and Communication in the 21st Century, 4-7 July, Adelaide, South Australia.

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Public opinion is comprised of a complex set of social and political processes that involve individuals, groups and organisations (Hennessy, 1981; Newsom, Turk & Kruckeberg, 2004). The relationships amongst these individuals, groups and organisations are guided by an equally complex set of values and principles (Ledingham & Bruning, 1998), which serve to shield or expose the organisational decisions that influence or respond to public opinion. Whilst there is much literature about public opinion and stakeholder relationships, this paper is part of a study that examines how activist stakeholders use public opinion to condemn government decisions, and shift debate from the court of public opinion to the court room itself.

This paper is built around a case study about the importation of Asian elephants. In July 2005, the Federal government approved the importation of eight endangered Asian elephants as part of a breeding program that would operate out of Taronga and Melbourne Zoos. In response, a number of animal welfare groups including the RSPCA lodged a legal challenge and forced the zoos to prove responsibility and effectiveness in caring for and breeding these elephants. This study involves an analysis of content from 68 items retrieved from print and electronic media from March to October 2005. Codes were developed from the literature to understand the nature of public opinion as well the sources of opinion. This paper will highlight the extent to which activist publics, as a united collective, will go to be heard. This study has implications for the continued understanding and management of activist and stakeholder relationships.

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ID Code: 10986
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The contents of this conference can be freely accessed online via the conference’s web page (see hypertext link).
Additional URLs:
ISBN: 0863968376
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > MARKETING (150500) > Marketing Communications (150502)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 (The authors), ANZCA and the University of Adelaide
Deposited On: 28 Nov 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:28

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