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Week four: Timeline for the development of the public sphere

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Sean Dodson

on 22 February 2016

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Transcript of Week four: Timeline for the development of the public sphere

Alan McKee:
The concept of the “public sphere” is a metaphor that we use to think about the way that information and ideas circulate in large societies. It’s a term in everyday use to describe information when it’s made generally available to the public: we say it’s in the “public sphere”. But the phrase also has a more precise meaning in academic writing about culture and politics, where is a central and well-developed concept for thinking about how democratic culture should work.”
Nancy Fraser:
“[The public sphere] is "a discursive space in which individuals and groups congregate to discuss matters of mutual interest and, where possible, to reach a common judgment.
"The public sphere can be seen as "a theatre in modern societies in which political participation is enacted through the medium of talk”
Sean Dodson:
The public sphere is a function of an advanced society where people are free to get together and discuss and significant topical issues of the day. The public sphere is most developed in western liberal democracies, which by definition, have a diverse source of devolved power centres that police and counter -balance one another partially through an informed and involved public.
1. What is the public sphere?
Jurgen Habermas:
“A domain of our social life where such thing as
public opinion
can be formed [where] citizens ... deal with matters of general interest
without being subject to coercion
... [to] express and publicise their views”
According to Habermas public sphere = Offentlichkeit = publicity, openess and transparency
Moral weeklies are a kind of early newspaper and magazine circulated in the first half of the 18th century. They dominated the contemporary press market and contributed significantly to spread the ideas of
Enlightenment
. Their main purpose were ethical considerations rather than news. Famous among the about 200 titles in English are Tatler (1709 journal), The Spectator (1711), The Guardian (1713).
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