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The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere Paperback – 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; New Ed edition (1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745610773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745610771
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,408,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This is a very helpful read for students of sociology, media studies, communication and related fields.
Lara
The state had a structural need to side with the new capitalist and the vast company empires they wielded over any notion of the public's well being at large.
Tod F. Sarguis
If you are interested in this subject, and if you are into critical thinking, then this book is certainly worth reading.
Filipe Carreira da Silva

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 89 people found the following review helpful By mp on April 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
When you talk about the public sphere in front of intellectuals, Jürgen Habermas's name is bound to come up. Habermas's 1962 study, "The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere," examines the creation, brief flourishing, and demise of a public sphere based in rational-critical debate and discussion. The feasibility of a true public sphere, which is inclusive of anyone who would participate, is for Habermas of utmost importance. Habermas follows a methodology similar to the one Michel Foucault takes in "Discipline and Punish," which analyzes the abolition of public displays of power, and the process by which the structures of power are inculcated in the individual from the 17th through the 20th centuries. Habermas analyzes historical, economic, and political conditions from classical antiquity through his own historical moment, tracing the circumstances in which the public sphere arises, how it functions, and ceases to function over time.
Habermas begins with a delineation of the terms 'public' and 'private,' orienting them philologically from their roots and meanings in classical antiquity. From here, he traces the adoption of the words and their synonyms into the European Middle Ages and the era of feudalism. Habermas says that in this period, the feudal lord and the monarch, for whom `representative publicness' functioned as a display of power before their subjects, dominated the public. Authority figures embodied virtues and powers in a public fashion. Public representation of political and economic power continued, unabated until the Reformation, at which time, the privatization of religious faith signaled a separation between society and the state.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Filipe Carreira da Silva on November 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Habermas' work, though written more than four decades ago, still retains most of its original relevance for the study of the public sphere. If you are interested in this subject, and if you are into critical thinking, then this book is certainly worth reading. Why? Well, if you take in consideration the fact that no other book has been written so far on the subject that has been able to surpass Habermas' account both in depth and originality, then you begin to get my point. As to a critical reading of the argument put forth by Habermas, one should read "Habermas and the Public Sphere", edited by Craig Calhoun. This book includes an appendix by Habermas where he revises some of his original positions.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David K. Dyer on September 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
In this monograph, Habermas tracks the origination, the evolution, and the dispersal of an informed "public sphere" among democratic Western nations. He defines public sphere as "private people com[ing] together as a public" (27). Once these individuals, gathered as reading groups or as aficionados of theatre, the arts, and politics, the individuals melded into a public capable of debating the government. Habermas locates these fledgling "publics" primarily in eighteenth-century France, England and to a lesser extent in the areas of Europe designated as German. Tellingly, Habermas strongly links the formation of the public sphere with the rise of capitalism and a continuing bourgeois revolution. Comprised of literate individuals governed by the principals of the Enlightenment, these "publics" eventually challenged the validity and legitimacy of governments, most notably in France during the French Revolution and England during the English Civil War.

Habermas builds a compelling argument based upon his interpretation of Rousseau, Kant, Locke, Hegel, and Marx. He links the works of these philosophers and sociologists in a credible chain stretching back to the eighteenth century. However, he only deals thoroughly with the educated, propertied elite of society. Habermas views the "unpropertied" and illiterate as a separate from and incapable of participating in a true public sphere. To do this he must dismiss a plethora of lower class uprisings found throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. Even when the various governments quickly quashed these rebellions, the Ludites in England and the various rebellions of 1848 come to mind, it is difficult to dispute the effect these rebels and rebellions had upon the public discourse.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tod F. Sarguis on December 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
JURGEN HABERMAS. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. MIT Press. 1991. Year. 298 Pages. $26.10 .

The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society was written by Jurgen Habermas in 1962 and later translated from German to English in 1989 by Thomas Burger. Habermas who is part of the Frankfurt School of thought, seeks to explain the rise of capitalism through the synthesis of the bourgeois with government and industry. His concept includes defining the notion of "public spheres" and "private spheres" of influence and charts these spheres from feudal times until now.
Spheres can be seen as influences leading towards political action. At first in feudal times, public spheres did not exist at all. The entire role of politics was a private matter between nobles, kings, and the rest of the landed gentry.[14] The base point for examination is the expansion of the bourgeois public sphere into Northern and Western Europe. Later, as Habermas describes, there emerged extensive influence from the bourgeois public sphere through cultivation movements in salons (France), coffee houses(England), and tischgisellschaften (German table societies). As the capitalist bourgeois class who had achieved their status as monopolists in manufacturing began entering these salons with the nobles, they asserted their control. "A new stratum of bourgeois people arose occupying a central position within the public" They were the ones with key economic positions and by that nature had the greatest influence, and no longer was that the case of the gentry who were losing their political significance.
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