Deliberative democracy, the public sphere and the internet

Philosophy and Social Criticism 27 (4):21-39 (2001)
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The internet could be an efficient political instrument if it were seen as part of a democracy where free and open discourse within a vital public sphere plays a decisive role. The model of deliberative democracy, as developed by Jürgen Habermas and Seyla Benhabib, serves this concept of democracy best. The paper explores first the model of deliberative democracy as a ‘two-track model’ in which representative democracy is backed by the public sphere and a developing civil society. Secondly, it outlines the normative concept of the public sphere and its basic ideas, namely the uncoerced communication of equal participants with equal access and equal rights to intervene or propose themes. The third part for discussion shows how the internet could fit into this concept of public sphere and influence the quality of political debates, and emphasizes the important role it can play in the political process



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Antje Gimmler
Aalborg University

References found in this work

Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
The Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity.Richard Rorty - 1989 - Cambridge University Press.
The Public and its Problems.John Dewey - 1927 - Athens, Ohio: Swallow Press.

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