This article descriptionbes the state-of-the-art of Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann's theory of the dynamics of public opinion processes called the ""spiral-of-silence-theory"". The theory comprises several single hypotheses which relate to different fields of social science, behavioural and attitudinal psychology, communication research and social theory. Its core assumption is the hypothesis that individuals have a fear of isolating themselves in public situations and thus tend not to exclaim their own opinions when they perceive the majority of their fellow citizens to hold the opposite point of view. Noelle-Neumann's approach has been discussed and criticised by scholars from different fields. Nevertheless, the empirical evidence up to now seems to underline that it has the potential to explain some of the variance in individual behaviour and in the dynamics of public opinion processes.
This article focuses on lobbying in South Africa, with special reference to the business sector. Lobbying does indeed take place in South Africa, but is on an ad hoc and unstructured basis when compared with the USA, for example. Most of the persons who perform local lobbying functions do so in a part-time capacity while maintaining major positions as interest-group officials, PROs in companies or as corporate executives. Rather than trying to measure their influence in the policy-making process, the study analyses the level of interest group activity and the lobbying techniques they employ. The institutional foci of lobbying activities are also identified. Conceptual and comparative perspectives are integrated with the empirical data.
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In South Africa there is growing concern regarding the manner in which women are portrayed in advertisements. Up to now no studies have been undertaken in support or otherwise of this concern. However, theories of mass communications support the fact that advertising is powerful enough to prescribe and reflect the existing values and norms of the society. Advertising is also a form of communication of persuasion and influence. By means of techniques of persuasion, views and behaviour can be influenced in a direction determined by the initiator. These techniques determined include typecasting, an important element of the study which was undertaken. The purpose of the study was to determine the manner in which South African women are portrayed in South African women's magazines. For this purpose it was necessary to review the role of women in Western Society and to determine which historical factors had influenced this role. The hypotheses for the analysis were derived from literature and research relating to the portrayal of women in American advertising, and from South African seminar material and a few articles on this subject which could be located. The most significant finding is that women in South-African magazine advertisements are depicted relatively free from stereotyped images and traditional ideas. This reflects the fact that marketers and advertisers have accepted the changing values and norms relating to the role of women.
The attitude analysis of specific inferior and superior role portrayals is a direct result of the article published in Communicare (1988: 49-54) on general role portrayals. The respondents analysed role portrayals of models in 12 different multi-racial television advertisements. The results Indicate important differences in the perception of these roles. Finally an original model of role perception is put forward. Van der Waldt (1988:49) stated that the diversity of approaches to the analysis of advertising has led to the discussion and application of Festingerï¿½s (1954) theory of social comparison, Grubb & Grathwohl's (1967) theory of self-concept related to product consumption, Sarbin & Allen's (1968) role theory and lastly Bandura's (1977) theory of social learning. Results indicated (Van der Waldt, 1988:53) that these theories clustered together separately under four different factors. All except Bandura's social learning theory clustered under a particular factor. It seems therefore important to pay more attention to this theory.