Jürgen Habermas’ The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere Essay

Jürgen Habermas’ The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere Essay

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In this essay I will discuss Jürgen Habermas’ “The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: Inquiry into a category of bourgeois society” (1962), and the ideas presented surrounding the public sphere. What I will investigate is whether or not the post-modern phenomenon of new media (e.g. the internet) could in fact present a new-wave of public sphere, or is just another platform for mass-media. I will also explore the public sphere model, and discuss its decline (due to either political or economic reasons). I will look in particular at the 21st Century, and the evidence of a possible public sphere in the modern day, as well as the factors which could have extinguished the public sphere in the early part of the 20th Century, not just looking to Habermas’ philosophy but also other social commentators like Noam Chomsky & Del Sola Poole.

The “Public Sphere” (Habermas 1962) is a term coined by German sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas, as he believes, the public sphere social structure directly proceeded feudalism in European society. It comes from the two separate factors of the “public” ( referring to public authority – the state) and the “private”(referring to the idea of economy, society and the family) coming together for rational critical debate about the world around them. Habermas believes that this was initially started with the “literary public sphere” which allowed people of all social standing to discuss art and literature, usually in public places like coffee houses and salons. From this branched the political public sphere, where private people (not working for the government, or influenced by it) came together to use reason critically and analysed (and often opposed) ideas present in government. W...

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Outhwaite, W. ed (1996)” The Habermas Reader” Cambridge UP
Crossley, N. & Roberts, J.M (eds.) (2004) “After Habermas: new perspectives on the public sphere”. Oxford University Press
Curran, J (1978)” The press as an agency of social control: an historical perspective.”
G, Curran, J. & Wingate P. (eds) Newspaper History: from the 17th Century to the present day. London: constable print
Atton, C (2002) “News cultures and new social movements: Radical journalism and the mainstream media, journalism studies”
Brendon, P. (1982) “ The Life and death of press barons”. London: Secker & Warbug
Koss S (1984) “ The Rise and Fall of Political Press in Britain: Vol 2- The Twentieth Century” Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press,
Herman S & Chomsky N (1988) “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media” London: Vintage press

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