The Second Edition of this book provides a comprehensive overview of the ways in which social theory has attempted to theorize the importance of the media in contemporary society. Understanding Media Cultures is now fully revised and takes account of the recent theoretical developments associated with New Media and Information Society, as well as the audience and the public sphere.
Chapter 2: Habermas, Mass Culture and the Public Sphere
Habermas, Mass Culture and the Public Sphere
Culture is an intersubjectively produced, publicly held phenomenon. It helps provide a source of identity, means of social exchange and a sense of community. In the course of the twentieth century the public cultures of social democracies are progressively becoming both commercialised and marketised. In place of the old integrative cultures of nation states there is currently emerging a fragmented global culture built upon more popular pleasures. This transnational culture is constructing new identities and undermining older versions of national solidarity. A critical notion of the public sphere helps us to view this process ambivalently. The development of new technologies and cultural forms seems to be dependent upon privatised modes of ...