Public Sphere

Hambermas 1989 defined the concept of public sphere as, “We call events and occasions ‘public’ when they are open to all, in contrast to close or exclusive affairs”. Habermas characterises the public sphere as a construction of public opinion, accessible to all citizens, freedom of conference and debate over the governing rules.

Public discussions today can be completed in various ways. Blogs are a successful way individuals write their thoughts and expose them to an audience on platforms like WordPress, blogpost and Tumblr. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, YouTube etc, are also platforms that allow for a public sphere with discussions.

The image below shows a timeline of the development of public sphere up to 2000’s.

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This timeline demonstrates that we started from printing press in 1440, newspapers then to telephones and broadcasting by 1976. This is how individuals would share their opinions in an open sphere. For instance news stories would be printed in the paper and news reports would be exposed on the radio. However, today, thanks to the digital age we have endless ways to share our thoughts on digital platforms. These platforms are endless but the top 5 media platforms are Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit.

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In my experience, my public sphere is the one where I deliberate present issues and ideologies in my group chat on Facebook with my friends. This is easy and fast as we can send each other links to articles or news reports that have come up on our news feed.The problems that occur in my public sphere of my Facebook group chat discussing things such as how Sydney prices for things such as houses and cars are becoming too expensive and political issues such as mainstream politics. Although, we still talk loads about social issues such as Why Kate Middleton never takes of her coat. But, the things we deliberate are issues that affect us and things that will affect our futures. Thus, we form our own opinions and talk about them.

Examples of what we send each other are;

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We also send each other links of media that have come up on other media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter. The media that we share exposes political, social or economic issues. There is usually always a debate over our opinions and these conversations can (no exaggeration) last for days! Although some of the conversations don’t end up in a debate, rather we discuss what we think about the issue. My example of my public sphere shows that due to the rise of digital media it has reduced the amount of face to face interaction needed for a public sphere discussion.

 

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