Theory, Culture and Society 23 (2-3):607-611 (2006)

Abstract
The article situates the issue of the public sphere as a phenomenon that is historically bound and culturally specific. According to this point of view, the Western practices and the Western way of thinking about the public sphere appear as a historically particular way of dealing with the more general phenomenon which is the creation of a social bond beyond the family. Looking at the self-contradictory effects of the ‘modern’ Western public sphere, the question is asked whether the public association of self-interested or self-governing individuals might have to be theorized as a partial and insufficient solution to the social bond. A comparative perspective shows that it is not individuals but cultural forms that link people in the public sphere. They do so by providing a narrative basis of discourses and/or markets that in the self-understanding of modernity shape social life.
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DOI 10.1177/0263276406062705
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