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Habermas the Public Sphere - Essay Example

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Habermas the Public Sphere Name: Institution: The public sphere is a social area where people get together and discuss problems that affect them in their society. In other words, it is a site where public opinion is formed. These discussions are usually meant to influence or stir political action to address the problems…
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Download file to see previous pages 1-13). According to many political theorists, the public sphere is an important entity for a strong democracy. The public and the private spheres acquired a clear distinction in the 17th and 18th century. The public sphere usually consists of informal citizen discussions and deliberations that lead to the formation of a public opinion which is rational enough to guide and influence political systems. Habermas has given a complete outline of the public sphere in The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. (1989). This piece of work outlines the public sphere critical theory in a systematically developed manner (Dahlgren, 1995, p. 44). The public sphere thus develops from the realms of public authority as well as private relations. The private relations may involve the family and the civil society at large. The private individuals, therefore, come together to form the public sphere. They are driven by the notion of speech without censorship as well as the desire for unified reasoning. According to Habermas, therefore, the public sphere involves both historical economic and political concerns. He continues to explain that every communication contains a communicative action which is oriented towards an agreement. Whenever a matter concerning living together as a people with differences is debated, the public sphere is always constituted. The public sphere became more of a commercial and entertainment entity rather than its conserving its political character. The shift from the original character to other commercialized versions is documented in the press. Habermas, therefore, looks at the integration of literature and journalism as well as the role played by mass media. The public sphere was also affected by the emergence of mass media. The apparent evolution of the communications environment has made the public sphere to change to a platform for advertisements. As a result of these, there emerges a new class of participants such as public relations practitioners (Thompson, 1993, p. 67). Democracy, according to Habermas, is founded on the world of life. It is this world of life that enables free communication between different people. It also drives people into pursuing private and individual interests as opposed to common goals in life. The media plays a crucial role in any democracy. This comes easier, of course, if the environment is right. Such an environment is one which consists of the requisite skills that enable democratic reporting. The media is most of the time flooded with advertisements that target some individual tastes. The information that is presented is also based on the pre-existing views. There should, therefore, be mechanisms which check for public accountability as well as professionalism in media operations. One of the characteristics that identify a democracy is the independence of the media. This is strengthened by the financial viability of the media organizations. Financial strength ensures that the media operates in an environment free of external influences, especially political influences (Hallin, 1994, p.12). The media is also an essential for checking the political system when that system is unable to meet the social expectations. The media is, however, not expected to entertain political bias or partisan reporting at all. Accessibility of the media ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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