Sunday, March 8, 2009

Seongbae's questions for week 8

1. At the end of page 76 on The Public Sphere, Habermas says, “in the trasition from the literary journalism of private indicidulats to the public services of the mass media, the public sphere was transformed by the influx of private interests, which received special prominence in the mass media.” The notion of “influx of private interests” seems reasonable considering that we are living in a democracy full of different ideas. To me, however, the influx of private interests seem to narrow down to one or two dominant ideas over time. So could this mean that public sphere is always narrowed down to a representation of single powerful opinion?

2. Habermas points out that the role of daily newspapers has changed from mere institutions for the publication of news to a dealer in public opinion. I believe newspaper industry has been maintained this way since this change happened. But what about opinions of minor view? I know newspapers today present minority opinions often. Has this hindered formation of public opinion? Or perhaps has this possibly reinforced the formation of public opinion by showing weak resistance to the majority opinion?

3. I am confused by the following statement on page 77 from Habernas’s article: “the liberal model of the public sphere cannot be applied to the actual conditions of an industrially advanced mass democracy organized in the form of the social welfare state.” I tried to find out major reasons behind this claim, but it wasn’t clear from the text.

4. What exactly is the process of forming public sphere? Is it something that occurs naturally or does it need some sorts of opinion leaders? Would public sphere be generated when random people gathered to talk about random issues?

5. From my understanding, all three scholars regarded democracy as the fundamental base or prerequisite for public sphere to take place. Would it be impossible to form public sphere in other types of political systems?

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