Week 5 assignment: Public Sphere

Distinction between public sphere and public space:

The first and foremost distinction between public sphere and public space is that, public space is rather an extension of the public sphere. Public space provides the facilities for public sphere, where something closed to public opinion can be formed, in a varying range of platforms. Papachirissi stated that, however, public space does not guarantee a ‘healthy public sphere’. The public sphere is where ‘rational’ discourse is discussed. Being a more complicated concept, public sphere requires several factors as requirements for its existence, the most popular of which is a reasoning public. The public has to be thoroughly informed of the information being discussed in order to have their say in public sphere. An example highlighting this distinction between public sphere and public space is a political discussion on an internet forum. In this way, the internet provides public space for a discussion about politics to exist. In the internet there exist the forum which people gather to express their political concerns, which is effectively public sphere. However, the internet in no way can carry out security checks to see if the people on the forum are harmful to society, or to a lesser extent, are equipped for a political matter in order to produce a sound public opinion of such subject.

The ways in which the internet enriches the democracy:

He particularly notice the use of blogs, while ‘narcissistically motivated’, adds plenty of voices and a higher sense of democracy on the internet. In this ways, subjects such as politics would become a more private matter on which individuals can provide their commentaries, with out shackles from social institutions such as the media. Rather than taking public agenda as their own private agendas, blogs encourage users to do the opposite, making their private agendas known to the public, in an effort to challenge public agendas generated by institutions

Extract: ‘This particular breed of narcissism has a democratizing effect. The subjective focus of blogs and similar forums encourages plurality of voices expands the public agenda. While narcissistically motivated, blogs are democratizing in a unique manner. As Bimber(2000) argues, while online technologies “contribute toward greater fragmentation and pluralism in the structure of civic engagement,” their tendency to “deinstituationalize politics, fragment communiation, and accelerate the pace of the public agenda and decision making may undermine the coherence of the public sphere”(p. 332-333). With their focus making a private agenda public, blogs challenge the established public agenda in an anarchic manner. This lack of coordination or concentrated civic objective limits the contribution to the public sphere, and exemplifies how online technologies enhance democracy in ways tangential to, but not directly connected with the public sphere.

 

an example of internet use that you think contributes to democratic possibilities:

9gag.com

It works because it provides alternative views that would draw immediate attention from large existing amount of people who regularly check the site on a daily or even hourly basis. It also attracts commentaries for through critical evaluation of said views as audience for the website are scattered around the globe.

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