The Public Sphere

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Edited by: Jostein Gripsrud, Hallvard Moe, Anders Molander & Graham Murdock

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Abstract

The idea of the public sphere as the space where citizens come together to deliberate on issues of common concern and to critique and influence the government has been one of the most influential and contested concepts since the beginnings of debates on the constitution of democracy. But the notion of a public sphere is certainly not simply of historical interest. It remains central to contemporary issues such as the democratic potential of the internet, the challenges posed by the resurgence of fundamentalisms, and the possibilities for a post-national, cosmopolitan, political order in the age of globalization.

This four volume set is a ‘must-have’ guide to the idea of the public sphere, its history, the ongoing struggles over its meaning and importance to democracy, and its ...

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  • General Introduction
    JosteinGripsrud
    HallvardMoe
    AndersMolander
    GrahamMurdock

    The phenomenon of “the public sphere” as it is conceived in these four volumes has many different precursors. Human beings are social animals and have always and everywhere gathered in order to discuss matters of common interest and in order to make life more rewarding through a variety of expressive or artistic activities. The Greek city-states of antiquity were slave societies but the first ideas of democracy were born there and then among men who gathered in the city square to debate the issues of the day. In the European cities of the Middle Ages, people of course met regularly outside of each others’ homes to exchange gossip and news and talk about their lives. They could also be summoned by the ruling ...

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