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?

Communication and Subjectivity

Communication and subjectivity

In this chapter I turn my attention to some theoretical aspects of the process of communication. This follows up the more general reflections on the mediated semiotic environment in the previous chapter, as well as tying in with previous discussions on social interaction and subjectivity in the public sphere.

As an initial frame for the discussion, and with the aim of clarifying a few points relevant to my overall perspective, I will use some aspects of Habermas' (1984, 1987) The Theory of Communicative Action. There are innumerable expositions and analyses of Habermas' overall approach (see for example, Ingram, 1987, and S. White, 1988, for two extensive treatments). I take Habermas as my point of departure, however, not only because his is ...

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