The Legacy of Spiral of Silence Theory: An Introduction
Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann passed away on March 25, 2010, at the age of 93. Her death ended a highly visible career as a social scientist, an entrepreneur, a political consultant, and a journalist not only in Germany but internationally as well. She was a professor of communications (at the University of Mainz) and one of the fi rst to introduce empirical methods to German communication research. She was the owner of the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach, an economically successful and methodologically innovative survey and marketing research fi rm. She was a political consultant who, from the very beginning of post-war Germany, supplied evidence on the Germans’ public opinion to the chancellors from Adenauer to Kohl and Merkel. And she was a journalist, in her fi rst career during the Third Reich, and afterwards as what she called a “survey research correspondent” (demoskopischer Korrespondent). But her name will primarily be remembered, at least among academics, as a theorist and specifi cally as the author of the spiral of silence theory.