The cultural constitution of publics

Authored by: Yifat Gutman , Jeffrey C. Goldfarb

Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  July  2010
Online publication date:  September  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415474450
eBook ISBN: 9780203891377
Adobe ISBN: 9781134026159


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The public sphere, or, as we prefer, the sphere of publics (Calhoun 1997: 100), appears as a structure of a particular place and time. As a fundamental support in the making of democracy, both historically and in contemporary polities, it has spread and developed, and has become multiple and global. To understand these propositions, we must remember that publics appear metaphorically as structures. They are given their structural appearance through regularized patterns of social interaction. They are culturally constituted in human interaction. Publics form as people meet as equals in their differences, and develop together a capacity to act among themselves and with other publics. Democracy is created in the interactive life of publics.

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