Milestones in the Critique of the Public Sphere: Dewey and Arendt


Abstract
This paper proposes a turnover to the theories which have fostered the 20th Century discourse upon the public sphere. By depicting the way in which the structural transformations suffered by the public sphere within the framework of modernity have been theorized by the pre-Habermasian discourse upon the public sphere, the present work aims at revealing the similarities as well as the differences between John Dewey‟s approach of the public sphere and Hannah Arendt‟s theory of the political realm. Although Arendt was not so much influenced by pragmatism, their theories share a normative dimension according to which the public sphere is structured in order to achieve certain functions, which were disrupted in modernity. Therefore Dewey‟s eclipse of the public, through the multiplication of its content, corresponds to Arendt‟s decay of the public realm through the rise of the social.
Keywords Arendt  Dewey  modernity  decay  public sphere  plurality  political sphere
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