The Influentials

People Who Influence People

By Gabriel Weimann

Subjects: Communication
Series: SUNY series, Human Communication Processes
Paperback : 9780791421420, 370 pages, September 1994
Hardcover : 9780791421413, 370 pages, October 1994

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Table of contents


Foreword by Elihu Katz


Part 1. The Birth of the Opinion Leadership Concept


1. Prologue: Opinion Leaders in the Wilderness
2. The Early Studies


Part 2. The Golden Age of Opinion Leaders: Methods, Typologies, and Characteristics


3. The Methods of Studying Opinion Leadership
4. Typologies of Opinion Leaders
5. The Characteristics of Opinion Leaders
6. Who Leads the Leaders?


Part 3. The Spheres of Opinion Leadership


7. Opinion Leaders in Marketing
8. Opinion Leaders in Fashion
9. Opinion Leaders in Politics
10. Opinion Leaders in Family Planning
11. Opinion Leaders in Science
12. Opinion Leaders in Agriculture
13. Opinion Leaders in Health Care


Part 4. The Fight for Survival


14. Criticism and Modifications
15. The Influentials: Reemergence of Opinion Leaders?
16. The Influentials as Leaders and Agenda-setters






Although opinion leadership has been the subject of numerous studies, in areas ranging from politics to fashion and in many societies and cultures, The Influentials represents the first systematic analysis of the concept. It offers a multidisciplinary presentation of the definitions, typologies, methods, and findings of opinion leadership, from its early formulation, through the emergence of the first empirical evidence, to the most recent research.

Weimann examines opinion leadership and personal influence in a number of areas, including marketing, public opinion and elections, education, fashion, science, agriculture, and health care. He also examines the growing criticism of the model based on theoretical and empirical weaknesses of the original concept and evaluates for the first time modifications that have emerged, including a new measure (the PS Scale) and its testing and application. The final chapters for the first time link opinion leadership with the important theoretical and research tradition of agenda setting.

Gabriel Weimann is the Chairman of the Department of Communication and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Haifa. He is co-author of Hate on Trial: The Zundel Case, the Media, and Public Opinion in Canada and The Theater of Terror: The Mass Media and International Terrorism.


"I know of no book in this area that provides the depth, breadth, and clarity this book has. It would make an excellent text for upper-division and graduate courses, as well as an invaluable addition to the personal library of any scholar in mass communication, political communication, social change, or national development." — Anne M. Nicotera, Howard University

"This is a very readable book that provides a comprehensive historical review and analysis of the relevant multidisciplinary literature on opinion leadership. The author does a fine job of identifying and examining the strengths and weaknesses of past research and identifies promising trends for future inquiry." — Gary Kreps, Northern Illinois University