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Volume :41 Issue : 4 2013      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Concept of the 'Public Sphere': An Analytical Reading of its Origin and Development

Auther : Mamdouh M. Ismail

In this paper, I will first examine Habermas's concept of the public sphere and its structural transformation in his early writings and then will note how he takes up similar themes in his recent 1990s work within the context of a structural transformation of his own work in his linguistic turn. After setting out a variety of critiques which his analysis has elicited, including some of my own, I attempt to develop the notion of the public sphere. Hence, my study intends to point to the continuing importance of Habermas's problematic and its relevance for debates over democratic politics and social and cultural life in the present age. The concept facilitates maximum public participation and debate over the key issues of the current conjuncture and which consequently promotes the cause of participatory democracy.
The main goal is to revisit Habermasian public sphere theory by discussing its strengths and weaknesses. Despite of the doubts presented about the public sphere idea, Habermas' work has influenced many disciplines and debates ranging from the democratic theory of political science, the self-reflection of cultural critics, the modernism/postmodernism debate, to empirical studies in sociology and communications.
Keywords: Public Sphere, Habermas, Public Opinion, Youth, Political Participation, Communication, Internet.

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