Is Habermas on Twitter?

Social Media and the Public Sphere

Authored by: Axel Bruns , Tim Highfield

The Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  December  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138860766
eBook ISBN: 9781315716299
Adobe ISBN: 9781317506560


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The concept of the public sphere, first introduced by Jürgen Habermas in his seminal book Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit (1962), translated into English as The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (1989), has proven to be an influential model for our understanding of media and communication processes, especially in the political arena. Habermas described a significant structural transformation—the Strukturwandel of the German title—which led to the replacement of the rational-critical public sphere of 18th-century coffeehouses and civic societies with a much more heavily mediatised public sphere at the dawn of the 20th century, as a result of the arrival of mass-circulation daily newspapers and the growing popularity of radio. This largely transitioned political and societal deliberation to this mediatised realm, where it was now carried out by a range of state, civic, and commercial actors on behalf of the public, removing more direct forms of participation on such debate and deliberation from the public.

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