Arendt, Habermas and Facebook: Participation and Discourse in Cyber Public Spheres

The rapid development of new media and online social networks has given rise to hopes that these media will serve as a democratizing vehicle. Through an Arendtian analysis of the significance of the public sphere, and a Habermasian normative framework for public discourse, this essay examines the contribution of cyber media to participation in public discourse and a more accessible public sphere. It argues that although online social networks can play an important role in the political realm, they ultimately fall short of fulfilling the democratic need for a true public sphere and for the kind of public discourse a true public sphere requires.
Keywords Arendt  Habermas  Facebook  online social networks  cyber public sphere  democracy
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