Conflict And Seduction In The Public Sphere

Sage Publications Ltd
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Journal Article
Media Culture & Society, 2013, 35 (1), pp. 113 - 120
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In a critical but sympathetic reading of Habermass work (1984, 1987a, 1987b, 2003), Luke Goode (2005) recently sought to rework his theory of deliberative democracy in an age of mediated and increasingly digital public spheres. Taking a different approach, Alan McKee (2005) challenged the culture- and class-bound strictures of Habermasian rationalism, instead pursuing a more radically pluralist account of postmodern public spheres. The editors of this special section of Media, Culture & Society invited us to discuss our differing approaches to the public sphere. Goode holds that the institutional bases of contemporary public spheres (political parties, educational institutions or public media) remain of critical importance, albeit in the context of a kaleidoscopic array of unofficial and informal micro-publics, both localized and de-territorialized. In contrast, McKee sustains a `hermeneutics of suspicion toward the official, hegemonic institutions of the public sphere since they tend to exclude and delegitimize discourses and practices that challenge their polite middle-class norms.
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