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Lim Jus394 Internet Publicsphere


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Lim Jus394 Internet Publicsphere

  1. 1. THE INTERNET & PUBLIC SPHERE JUS 394 CyberPolitics Merlyna Lim, Arizona State University February 2009
  2. 2. [public sphere] a democratic society depends on an informed populace to make decisions a social space where information, ideas and debate can circulate in a society a space where political opinion can be formed
  3. 3. [ jurgen habermas] a german social theorist. frankfurt school. ‘structural transformation of the public sphere’ (1962): the growth and decline of the bourgeois public sphere the middle class (small industrialists, skilled workers)
  4. 4. Frankfurt School: In the early part of this century, a loose aggregation of intellectuals known as the quot;Frankfurt Schoolquot; produced a body of work on the decay of the modern world. Well-known theorists included Theodore Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm. Their studies go under the general name “Critical Theory.” Horkheimer and Adorno in the “Dialectic of Enlightenment” “In the most general sense of progressive thought, the Enlightenment has always aimed at liberating men from fear and establishing their sovereignty. Yet the fully enlightened earth radiates disaster triumphant....What men want to learn from nature is how to use it in order wholly to dominate it and other men....Ruthlessly, in despite of itself, the Enlightenment has extinguished any trace of its own self-consciousness.”
  5. 5. [the public sphere] For Habermas, a public sphere is a collection of private individuals who get together to discuss matters of common concern
  6. 6. [ the public sphere] It came about in the 18th century with the rise of the middle class and the creation of associations, clubs, coffee houses, salons... People used to discuss poetry, philosophy, aesthetics, and social issues. Gradually they began to discuss matters of governance.
  7. 7. [the public sphere] the public sphere was set-up to oppose absolutist monarchical regimes for Habermas, this played an important role in mediating relations between society and state collective discussion of this sort if not unprecedented in history -- Ancient Greek Agora the public sphere is different in that it was assumed to create the conditions for building consensus and universality
  8. 8. [agora] a market place in ancient democratic Athens where people gathered to discuss common matters and debate issues
  9. 9. [agora] a market place in ancient democratic Athens where people gathered to discuss common matters and debate issues
  10. 10. [agora] a market place in ancient democratic Athens where people gathered to discuss common matters and debate issues
  11. 11. [agora] a market place in ancient democratic Athens where people gathered to discuss common matters and debate issues
  12. 12. [public sphere] individuals were expected to put aside their private interests and deliberate about truth and the collective good if people’s ideas were subjected to scrutiny through the principle of publicity then a universal public opinion would emerge such a universal opinion would represent the truth and would therefore have to be acted upon by the state.
  13. 13. [public sphere] & [gutenberg] - the Press in the latter half of the 18th century - 15th to the 18th century: Gutenberg’s invention was used to print Bibles and other information
  14. 14. [public sphere] & [press] however, the Press later became the tool for swaying public opinion newspapers represented particular ideological positions and these positions became amplified in debates in the public sphere for Habermas, it’s crucial for society to enshrine the principle of free communication -- this is a prerequisite to any form of justice mass media thus have become the chief institutions of the public sphere
  15. 15. [4 dimensions of p.s] Media Institutions Media representation Social structure Integration
  16. 16. [media institutions] Concerned with organization, financing, legal frameworks of media ownership, control, licensing, access, communicative discourse Public service broadcasting (BBC, CBC, PBS)
  17. 17. [media representation] What do the media portray? how are topics presented? what is the character of the debate and discussion? Concern with journalism - who are the gatekeepers?, organizational structure of the newsmaker.
  18. 18. [social structure] Structural dimension of the public sphere: scale and boundaries What type of model? - centralized or pluralistic? Can all citizens be accommodated within the same public sphere?
  19. 19. [integration] Goes beyond media representation and includes socio-cultural interaction. sense making, collective practices. Concerned with 1) discursive nature of talk between citizens; 2) spatial sites and settings of social interactions (virtual and non-virtual); 3) communal nature of social bonds between citizens.
  20. 20. Why is the public sphere important in the current intellectual discourse? Tries to develop an alternative to the process of commodification and market- driven mechanisms Ideally, in public sphere no restrictions on the range of viewpoints Equitable representation irregardless of income
  21. 21. [threats to public sphere] Government control and censorship: through ownership, regulation and partial funding of public broadcasting; or censorship for 'national security' concerns Bias, self-censorship through private system of control: ownership control, narrow class interests, corporate interests. Entertainment 'news' over controversy, lack of political debate, 'soft news', etc. Media globalization...
  22. 22. Issues re public space and media How can citizens participate? Access - to means of production and consumption Free speech and censorship Community standards - whose community?, and whose standards?
  23. 23. [the Internet] is the Internet the new hope for a renewal of public sphere?