n Communicatio : South African Journal of Communication Theory and Research - Habermas, the public sphere and beyond : communication, cultural and media studies

Volume 31, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0250-0167


Habermas's major early work, <I>The structural transformation of the public sphere</I>, is the focus of this contribution. A brief intellectual sketch of Habermas is provided and against this background his work is discussed. Habermas's relatively optimistic picture of the historical development of the bourgeois public sphere is reconstructed. Here a normative ideal of the public sphere is connected with a claim to public reason. In <I>The structural transformation of the public sphere&lt;/I&gt; Habermas provides a view of the decline of the public sphere in a post-liberal era of market manipulation - a view that was strongly influenced by Adorno and Horkheimer. Some of the critical perspectives on Habermas's concept of the public sphere are discussed with the view to providing a framework in which his work can be critically revisited in the current mediatised and technocultural age.

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