For many sociologists, public opinion does not exist, it acts as an artifact created by instruments and polls. Yet, if public opinion doesn't exist, controversies multiply and create their own audiences.
Survey methods must, then, have a change of approach in order to take into account not so much a unified and indivisible public opinion, as the dynamic of argument and the plasticity of the public.
Today it’s a matter of restoring the word of "common agents", their images, their stories, and their arguments, which form “common ground” on a problem which concerns them, and also identifies an audience, thanks to experimental polls considered to be public scenes, or forms of collective coordination which can take on three dimensions: a shared identity, agreement of a diagnostic (cause, responsibility, solution) and engagement in a collective action.
A work which renews reflection on the role of the polls, in the age of the Internet, citizen juries and participatory democracy.
Mathieu Brugidou, after having worked for a decade in polling institutes, is a Researcher at EDF R&D at the heart of the Energy, Technology and Society Research Group, and is Associate Director of Research CNRS at the Pact Laboratory. He teaches at Sciences Po Paris and Grenoble and at the University of Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne.