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The cultural public sphere

[journal article]

McGuigan, Jim

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Abstract Media research that uses the concept of a public sphere in order to measure distortion against its ideal standard of dialogic democracy tends to concentrate upon the cognitive aspects of news and either ignores or disdains affective communications. Jurgen Habermas's original formulation distinguished between the literary and the political public spheres. While everyday news was a feature of the political public sphere, the literary public sphere was not so constrained journalistically by current events and provided an arena for deeper reflection. This article updates the notion of a literary public sphere into an expanded concept of the cultural public sphere, including the whole range of media and popular culture. This concept refers to the articulation of politics, public and personal, as a contested terrain through affective (aesthetic and emotional) modes of communication. Three typical political stances in relation to the cultural public sphere are identified and evaluated: uncritical populism, radical subversion and critical intervention.
Classification Cultural Sociology, Sociology of Art, Sociology of Literature; Sociology of Communication, Sociology of Language, Sociolinguistics
Free Keywords affective communications; critical intervention; cultural publicsphere; radical subversion; uncritical populism
Document language English
Publication Year 2005
Page/Pages p. 427-443
Journal European Journal of Cultural Studies, 8 (2005) 4
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)