In this broad-ranging text, Peter Dahlgren clarifies the underlying theoretical concepts of civil society and the public sphere, and relates these to a critical analysis of the practice of television as journalism, as information and as entertainment. He demonstrates the limits and the possibilities of the television medium and the formats of popular journalism. These issues are linked to the potential of the audience to interpret or resist messages, and to construct its own meanings. What does a realistic understanding of the functioning and the capabilities of television imply for citizenship and democracy in a mediated age?
In today's world, democracy remains precarious and vulnerable. We can point to many factors which contribute to this, among the more obvious being declining economies and their political fall-out, an environment threatened by the fundamental premises of our civilization, a chaotic international system where the status of the nation-state is increasingly problematical, and where the distinction between the military and criminal use of organized violence is often blurred. Many in the West who cheered the collapse of the Soviet system saw the triumph of both capitalism and liberal democracy. At this historical juncture, global capitalism clearly has no serious competitor. However, what this means for the well being of humanity and for the planet is arguable. What it means for democracy is also ...