Public opinion and Irish neutrality : a theoretical and empirical test of the 'rational public' hypothesis
Citation:Karen M. Devine, 'Public opinion and Irish neutrality : a theoretical and empirical test of the 'rational public' hypothesis', [thesis], Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland). Department of Political Science, 2007, pp 326
Devine TCD THESIS 8160 Public opinion.pdf (PDF) 216.7Mb
Opinion polls have consistently shown that public opinion in Ireland is strongly in favour of neutrality. There is a significant discourse in the media and in academic texts which argues that Irish neutrality is a ‘myth’ and that public opinion in support of Irish neutrality cannot be ‘rational’ - it is ‘emotional’ and ‘confused’. This paradox of strong public attachment to a concept that does not exist (according to media and academic discourse), is the puzzle this thesis attempts to solve. There is a new debate in public opinion and foreign policy (POFP) literature concerning the ‘rational public’ thesis that argues that public foreign policy preferences are based on a sensible and coherent structure of core beliefs and values. This study evaluates public opinion on Irish neutrality against the ‘rational public’ hypothesis, contributing the first theoretical and empirical study of public opinion and Irish neutrality and providing additional fuel to the ‘rational public’ debate. It adds a unique case-study to the wider body of POFP literature that is dominated by analyses of public opinion in larger states, particularly the United States.
Author: Devine, Karen M.
Publisher:Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland). Department of Political Science
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Type of material:thesis
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