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  • 1. Evolution of “The Public Sphere” Discussion Leader: Lisa Hanchinamani Information from article: “The Net as Public Sphere?” By: Mark Poster
  • 2. Public Opinions were First Expressed in:
    • Churches
    • Coffee houses
    • Town Halls
    • Required face-to face interaction and public opinions were formed
  • 3. We then moved to…
    • Radio
    • Television
    • These new forms isolated people
  • 4. And Now….
    • The Internet
  • 5. Claim
    • “ Internet newsgroups and other virtual communities are being promoted as nascent public spheres that will renew democracy in the 21st century. But these claims are fundamentally misguided: they overlook the profound differences between Internet "cafés" and the agoras of the past.
    • Disembodied exchange of video text is not a substitute for face-to-face meeting - it has its own logic, its own ways of forming opinion. These attributes will powerfully affect the politics that emerge in our digital era.”
  • 6. Early Western Civilization
    • People talked as equals
    • Status difference wasn’t too important
    • Rational arguments prevailed
    • Goal= consensus
  • 7. Online World
    • People talk as equals but:
    • Rational argument rarely prevails
    • Achieving consensus is nearly impossible
    • Dissent is encouraged
    • Poster believes the Online World doesn’t share the characteristics of western civilization’s “public sphere”, and therefore the Internet is NOT a new public sphere, but a whole new concept that will radically change democracy.
    • “ We must remember that the Net is something entirely new, and its effects on democratic politics can't be predicted using historical precedent.”
  • 8. Why This Difference?— Identity Construction
    • Traditionally,
    • Identity was rooted in the physical body causing individuals to be accountable for what they say. It allowed trust to be built amongst people.
    • The Internet
    • Allows individuals to define their own identities and change them whenever to whatever.
  • 9. New Effects=Unpredictable
    • The Internet:
    • Threatens the government
    • -unmonitored conversations
    • Mocks private property
    • -reproducibility of information
    • Flaunts moral propriety
    • -dissemination of pornography
  • 10. Discussion….
    • Poster says “the technology of the Internet shouldn’t be viewed as a new form of public sphere. The challenge is to understand how the networked future might be different from what we have known.”
    • Do you agree?? Is the Internet a “public sphere?” Why or why not?
    • Your own questions….???