THE PUBLIC SPHERE, SOCIAL NETWORKS AND PUBLIC SERVICE MEDIA
Information, Communication & Society
This is the accepted version of the paper. This version of the publication may differ from the final published version. Permanent repository link: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/12492/ Link to published version: http://dx.The concept of the public sphere, although having its historical roots in Ancient Greece (see Dewey 1954), remains a central analytical tool in modern society to help us make sense of the relationship between the media and democracy (civic engagement). In his Structural
... Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, originally written in 1962, German philosopher and sociologist Habermas (who was a member of the Frankfurt School, a leftish think-tank) explained that in the late eighteenth century a new political class, the bourgeoisie, came to the fore in Britain in particular and formed a public body which, in sharp contrast to the old authorities, notably the state and the church, provided the conditions for reason-based, public opinion. The creation of a network of institutions by the bourgeoisie within the civil society, and the launch of a number of newspapers more specifically, provided the means through which private thoughts could become public. Libraries and universities became the places for public debate, while publishing enterprises formed the means by which government was criticized. That new public sphere was in principle open to all and protected from the power of both the church and the state.