A Theory of the Public Sphere

Sociological Theory 30 (4):238-262 (2012)

Abstract
The dominant approach to the public sphere is characterized by idealism and normativism. It overemphasizes civic-minded or civil discourse, envisions unrealistically egalitarian and widespread participation, has difficulty dealing with consequential public events, and neglects the spatial core of the public sphere and the effects of visibility. I propose a semiotic theory that approaches the public sphere through general sensory access. This approach enables a superior understanding of all public events, discursive or otherwise. It also captures the dialectical relationship between the public sphere and politics by (1) specifying the mechanisms through which visibility and publicity become resources or constraints for political actors, (2) explaining the political regulation of visibility, (3) showing the central role that struggles over the contents of public spaces play in political conflict, and (4) analyzing the links among social structure, social norms, and political action in the transformation of the public sphere
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DOI 10.1177/0735275112467012
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References found in this work BETA

The Fall of Public Man.Richard Sennett - 1978 - Ethics 88 (3):276-279.
Beyond Adversary Democracy.Jane J. Mansbridge - 1982 - Ethics 93 (1):153-155.

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Citations of this work BETA

Sound on Sound.Joseph Klett - 2014 - Sociological Theory 32 (2):147-161.
The Public Life of Secrets.Christopher A. Bail - 2015 - Sociological Theory 33 (2):97-124.

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