Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Society that lives on 'Spiral of Silence'

If you think that this revolution lead by Anna and his team gives you the freedom now to go on and preach or express whatever you feel like and believe it will be heard, think again, you might be wrong. Nothing changes for the common man, especially the society which lives dependently on each other's action. What does that mean?


We live in a country which is divided into two sections - India & Bharat. What is the difference? India being the civil society, the mass of people who can tweet, update their opinion, push forward a blog, make the society feel of their presence by appearing on prime time television shows. Whereas Bharat is that mass of people, whose daily lives are dependent on the actions of civil society, whose opinions are minutely listened by the mass of people who can recognize themselves with each other, who believes in living life as it comes, whose life is little affected by some Lokpal or Janlokpal bill.






Am not being cynic. The Bharat whose population is more than that of India live their life on daily basis rather seeing or planning for the future and hoping that they won't have to pay a bribe to get their work done. Rather the Bharat will be much more interested in paying little extra to get their work done than going to some police station or court to file case against corruption. These group of people no matter how many time they go to Pragati Maidan or Ramlila to support Anna Hazare or his team, will at the end of the day prefer to bribe the ration shop dealer to get his list of things out of the shop more quickly than waiting in the queue.


Society runs on actions rather than views or ideas. A major reason for this being a person's fear to getting isolated for being an innovator or being a person of different views. In Mass Communication, we call it - Spiral of Silence. What exactly is this spiral of silence? Formed by Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann, this theory states that the society/media publicizes opinions that are mainstream and people adjust their opinions according to the perceptions of that society/media to avoid being isolated. Individuals who perceive their own opinion as being accepted will express it, whilst those who think themselves as being a minority, suppress their views. Innovators and change agents are unafraid to voice different opinions, as they do not fear isolation.






A common man whose daily life depends on his daily earnings will never dare to go on to a police station to complain about a local babu who might be harassing or making his life miserable. He will rather chose to stay  silent and get used to it. The reasons which usually comes up - "Police and Babus are friends", "I should but police won't listen", "No one voices why should I", "Why waste time in such stuff, I will get used to it or do as the babu wants me to".


This happens when over the years communications fail. A good society is a result of good communication between two persons or a group of people. A good communication happens only when there is a feedback. In the country we live in a feedback rarely comes. As a result the Spiral of Silence governs our life and will be for a very long time.


How can we change this? Well firstly a simple Janlokpal won't help. Our system needs to loosen a bit. A person will chose to bribe and get his or her work done if we have such tight rules and regulations. Also we need a system that works fast. Complain about our Judiciary taking ages to solve cases? Let us talk about the time it takes to make a passport.






Also If you have noticed, there is no feedback at all of how any work is progressing around you. The system should look upon the task of letting people know about the situations. So when someone asks you something its better to reply back. This way the difference and gap between classes and variety of people will lessen.


Most importantly the society which shapes the views and publicizes opinions should consider to take up the views of the billions than a selected group of people, over and over again. Why only Anna as a change agent? Why not talk about the mass who visited Ramlila to support Anna? Anna communicated well, fine. He had a good PR team working for him but how about the billions of people who communicated back by visiting Ramlila and each and every city's protest points to show their support and become the agent of innovation along with Anna?



Lastly if someone feels like a minor person in this world, help him or her to overcome it.


Till then our society will be run by Opinion Leaders and their supporters.


P.S. Views are my personal and not directed towards anyone.

1 comment:

Prasad Kulkarni said...

Wonderful post. I agree on most of the things. Well in fact all of the things said here.

"Spiral of Silence" does make things worse, isolating and suppressing public view. People talk about only those news which are constantly bombarded over news channel. The news which is shown only once gets suppressed in the lot. So if Media decides to suppress a particular news, they can miff it and mass even won't talk about it. That's the power of media. But sadly that's misused, sadly.

Also, as you said, just Janlokpal isn't the solution. People also need to change their habits of bribing to get their work done faster. The definition of Bribing/Corruption has changed today.

If you bribe and work is done = NO Corruption (but a way of getting things done)
but if you bribe and still work is not done = Corruption.

So as you said, BHARAT needs to awaken on this issue. Just India won't help the cause.

Your views are well expressed and I liked the presentation :) (I am no expert in mass communication, but commenting as a reader)