Habermas' Public Sphere

Topics: Public sphere, Sociology, Jürgen Habermas Pages: 7 (2485 words) Published: January 3, 2013
How well does Jurgen Habermas’ concept of the ‘public sphere’ describe the culture of the internet?

“Public sphere can be understood as a harmonious participation of different people without one overpowering the other and I believe that the same theory can be applied to the Internet and online communication today”.

Joanna James

What gives the clash of coffee shop talks and online participation in the discussion by commenting on the news? Surely, this differs from what an influential political scientist Samuel Huntington wrote about in his book “Clash of civilization”. The case with civilization is merely an upgrade of cultures but burdening and open issue among politicians. As for the “clash” of the natural discussion in an open air practiced in the XVII century with the global networking is about upgrade of communication. The latter is vice versa to the first is warmly welcomed by the contemporary communicators. Internet enlarged the scale of discussion as well as it made it right away. Ideas and theories come to existence but the perception of them is dictated by the generation and the status quo of the situations in this or that society. Thus, as it seen in the case of the clash of civilization it is a long-term collision of cultures but clash of conversation in primitive way and internet gives out such social network giants as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others. Those giants are doing good job by connecting people and making world shrink as well as being successful in the world business. Exploring the many issues caused by differences between cultures raised by Huntington is not this paper’s task, nor comparison of the public sphere and online communication of digital generation. Instead the paper raises the issue of early type of public information exchange in the case of public sphere studied by Jurgen Habermas in his book called “The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society” and internet culture dominating almost all spheres of an average world citizen’s life. Just as important, the essay will try to join these old and new ways of information exchange and describe its result mutatis mutandis in the XXI century. The structure of the essay enables us first to have discussion on the concept of public sphere defined by Habermas that was urgent for the XVII-XVIII century public. Second, describe the role of the Internet, its influence and importance in the world of communication and data exchange. Last, but not least the author will have an attempt firstly to overlap the public sphere and the culture of the Internet together and secondly to prove this mix to be for better rather than for worse in the current digital medium. First and foremost it is worth to start with Habermas’ personality reveal. Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher who wrote extensively on the way information, news and event are processed in the “public sphere”, i.e. that the news are talked about and discussed by the public where and how does this or that event happen and how effectively. The platform for the newly emerging class of society who get together mostly to share information about commerce, politics and their new lifestyles became British coffee houses and French salons.¹ Habermas saw the public sphere being space strong in the past before the mass media because people came together and talk in coffee shops and other places in particularly in Western Europe.² As any phenomenon which has roots in the past, public sphere has gone through different stages. Monarchal representation of the public sphere was characterized by the dominance of the royal identities. An example of a monarch’s speech to his nation had probably sounded this way: “Rejoice common people for I am your divinely chosen king. My voice represents your voice. There is no private sphere, there is no public sphere, there is...
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