José Carlos Del Ama
After completing my study of the Communication Sciences at the Universidad Complutense (Madrid, Spain), I moved to Germany, where I achieved my Master’s degree at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität (Mainz). Under the mentorship of Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, the author of the theory of the Spiral of Silence, I finished my Ph.D. in 2000. After a decade teaching and researching in Germany, I moved to the United states, where I held positions at the University of Connecticut and later at Central Connecticut State University.
The study of public opinion is my main academic emphasis. In my research activity, I explore the role of this social-psychological phenomenon in social, political and economic dynamics. In modern societies, public opinion is considered the only legitimate source of political power. Thus, the art to influence public opinion is also the most desired skill for those who try to achieve power. The subject becomes awfully complex when we add mass media to the equation. This triangular relationship – public opinion, mass media, political power – is the axis around which my research agenda revolves.
Public Opinion is the focus of my teaching portfolio as well. I teach courses on Public Opinion theory and research. Students learn all the tools necessary to complete a survey research project, from the questionnaire design, to the sampling and interview types, to the most sophisticated inferential tests and prediction models.
In addition to my academic experience, I collaborated for years with the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach (Germany), founded by my professor and mentor Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann. Allensbach was the first public opinion research center created in Europe. In this center, I developed a series of public opinion research projects and participated in several electoral opinion polls, as well as in market research projects.
Lately, I have been taking interest in Audiovisual story telling. Audiovisual media (Cinema and TV) have become the most common – and popular – vehicle to tell stories. I analyze the historical development of audiovisual storytelling, the elements of the audiovisual syntax, as well as the different techniques to create meaning through fictional narrative.