Upper Left Quadrant Details Upper Right Quadrant Details Lower Left Quadrant Details Lower Right Quadrant Details Details



Agenda is simply a list of things to be done. Yet, a great affliction of democracy is that issues cumulate. Consequently, responsiveness to multitudes of demands must be associated with willingness and ability to impose constraints on the time, place and manner of the conversion of issues into legitimate public policy. That can be considered the critical function of the agenda in political theory.
The vertical axis runs the gamut from the most tentative and casual of interests -- mere opinion -- to interests that have been refined, rationalized, researched, and assimilated into the most formal of agendas, fully articulated policies. The horizontal axis, media-to-party, captures the dimension or function of aggregation, which is a mix of communications from varieties of sources, of which the most institutionalized and most proximate to the political process are media and party.
The LRQ is basically the laissez-faire model of government, as it possesses elements of self-government through the free flow of competition over preferences. One key feature of market economy, hoever, is also to allow for the most efficient reproduction of the dominant power structure. The elite's role as professional managers of the policy agenda may well coincide with its role as a power elite, controlling what alternative opinions may - or may not - come on the public agenda. In LLQ, participatory or direct democracy refers to a situation in which all or part of the central government agenda is set directly by popular movements unmediated by the more institutionalized channels of aggregation and articulation. It is only with the top two quadrants that we reach the conventional, and conventionally understood, half of the world of agenda and agenda setting. The upper right quadrant is the classic institutional model, focussing on the internal mechanisms of agenda and agenda setting within legislatures and executive branch organizations, identifying the major role players as legislators, career experts, outside consultants, interest groups and their lobbyists, and, above all, the major political parties. With polling as a key instrument for agenda-setting, the upper left quadrant approximates a plebiscitary model. Regular and frequent polls on approval of leaders are in every way a modern plebiscite. But the rise of polling in our time has also turned into a means for determining government agendas. Systematic, scientific quantification - and manipulation - of individual opinions has become the mainstream channel on how to construct an agenda for campaigning as well as how to construct the next agenda for governing.