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Participation, representation and media system: Habermasian paths to the past

Publiceringsår: 2010
Språk: Engelska
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Linköping University Electronic Press


Drawing from Swedish press history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the present article argues for further historical investigation into three aspects of Jürgen Habermas’ theory of the public sphere. The first concerns actual media participation, the second the representative features of media institutions, and the third media systems. These routes of analysis can and should be combined, and historical specificity is key. When we focus on concrete situations and places, the neat grand-scale chronologies (Habermas’ and others’) fall short. There is no simple development from a “representative publicness” to a participatory public sphere, and back again. And the media have always been interconnected in a system-like way. However, historical specificity does not exclude contemporary developments. The present conclusion is that if we are to gain any true understanding of contemporary phenomena, a historical perspective is crucial, and aspects of Habermas’ theory can serve as heuristic tools.


  • Cultural Studies


  • ISSN: 2000-1525

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