WEEK 4: ‘Habermas’ heritage: the future of the public sphere in the network society’

Is Boeder right when he argues ‘the conventional notion of a single, unified public sphere is likely to disappear in favor of a more segmented, pluralist model’? Demonstrate by using a contemporary example of mediated public discourse.

Habermass’ definition of the ‘public sphere’ has become “increasingly relevant and increasingly problematic”. Social media and how it delivers the “news” differs from the once conventional way in which the news was shown and read. Social media allows for news to be shown in different ways – another platform of opinions that differ and conflict each other. Communication technology no longer follows the straightforward model of traditional news gathering organisations, rather being, shown in an unprecedentedly fluid form that can differ and change depending on a target audience and how ‘they’ (controllers of platform – pr agencies, companies etc) want the news to be perceived. While there is no denying that the physical nature of the public sphere has changed dramatically, it is worth noting that Habermass identifies the notion as being fundamentally conceptual (virtual and abstract). Boeder’s suggestion that the public sphere has become segmented or pluralist, simply identifies a realistic assumption that could be made about an increasingly diverse and vocal public.

– Boeder, P 2005, ‘Habermas’ heritage: the future of the public sphere in the network society’, First Monday, Volume 10, Number 9. –