Is Habermas on Twitter? Social media and the public sphere
Bruns, Axel & Highfield, Tim (2016) Is Habermas on Twitter? Social media and the public sphere. In Bruns, Axel, Enli, Gunn, Skogerbø, Eli, Larsson, Anders Olof, & Christensen, Christian (Eds.) The Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics. Routledge, New York, pp. 56-73.
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Jürgen Habermas’s concept of the public sphere remains a major building block for our understanding of public communication and deliberation. Yet ‘the’ public sphere is a construct of its time, and the mass media-dominated environment which it describes has given way to a considerably more fragmented and complex system of distinct and diverse, yet interconnected and overlapping publics that represent different themes, topics, and approaches to mediated communication. This chapter argues that moving beyond the orthodox model of the public sphere to a more dynamic and complex conceptual framework provides the opportunity to more clearly recognise the varying forms that public communication can take, especially online. Unpacking the traditional public sphere into a series of public sphericules and micro-publics, none of which are mutually exclusive but which co-exist, intersecting and overlapping in multiple forms, is crucial for understanding the ongoing structural transformation of ‘the’ public sphere.
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