The Evolution of the "Public Sphere"
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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
  • 3. We then moved to…
    • Television (which isolated people)
  • 4. And Now….
    • The Internet
  • 5. Early Western Civilization
    • People talked as equals
    • Status difference wasn’t too important
    • Rational arguments prevailed
    • Goal= consensus
  • 6. Online World
    • People talk as equals but:
    • Rational argument rarely prevails
    • Achieving consensus is nearly impossible
    • Dissent is encouraged
  • 7. 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.
  • 8. New Effects=Unpredictable
    • The Internet:
    • Threatens the government
    • -unmonitored conversations
    • Mocks private property
    • -reproducibility of information
    • Flaunts moral propriety
    • -dissemination of pornography
  • 9. Discussion….
    • Has the Internet decentralized communication and enhanced democracy? If so, how?
    • 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 new “public sphere?” Why or why not?