The idea of public sphere and public space appeared in the 18th century but the wide spread of this term began rather recently, after the development of modern media like television or internet and after the fastening of urbanization all over the world. The idea of public space is very important for the development in communication and society. Different researchers examined the idea of the public space and described it in various aspects and relations with other disciplines and sciences, from journalism to political economy. However, all the authors have some common thoughts regarding the public space.
One of these thoughts was chosen as the main thesis of research. The main thesis is the following: public space is the integral part of he industrialized and highly-urbanized democratic society. Herein the supportive arguments from different theories are provided. The idea of public space It is necessary to start with the concept of public sphere. This concept appeared in the debates of European philosophers in the 18th century and was popularized by German sociologist and philosopher Jurgen Habermas in the middle of 20th century.
Croteau and Hoynes based their understanding of public sphere on the Habermasian definition “a rigorous, open space for discursive negotiation, free from force or coercion” (Croteau and Hoynes, 2001: 21). Correspondently, the negotiation, or public interaction, should take place between different perspectives, widely enough to be considered as public. Croteau and Hoynes define the public sphere as “the ‘space’ in which ideas, opinions, and views freely circulate” (Croteau and Hoynes 2001: 16).
Following Habermas, they popularized the concept of public sphere because of its importance for democratic societies. The argument for the importance of the public sphere can support the main thesis of this research: the citizens of a democracy must have access to a variety of information and opinions to make wise choices. The public sphere suggests that spaces in society are open, accessible, shared, collective, and common ( Croteau and Hoynes, 2001:20).
The media plays the significant part in the public-sphere formation, especially television and internet. Croteau and Hoynes identify two perspectives– market model and public sphere model – on mass media. The market model is based on the demand and supply because it considers media as any other product. The success in the market model is measured with the rates of profit. The interest of society has an influence on the competition between media companies. The public-sphere model is based on the assumption that market is unable to meet the society’s needs.
In particular, media should be the tool of the successful socialization for every individual in the society, thus it must ensure the knowledge circulation in the society, to “promote active citizenship, education, and social integration” through their messages (Croteau & Hoynes, 2001: 37). The authors warn that what people want (market model) isn’t that they really need (public-sphere model). According to Croteau & Hoynes, independence, innovation and diversity are the main media characteristics in the public-sphere model.
Speaking about independence, they mean media independence from corporate and governmental interests. The strong sides of public sphere on the society are obvious, but its development could lead to homogenization of the society. However, the recent trends in the interest to media reflect the resistance to the homogenization: from the national networks people turn to local TV-news and current affairs. While Croteau and Hoynes analyzed the concept of public sphere in general, Peter Golding paid much attention to the growth of the Internet and its influence onto society.
Describing the development of World Wide Web and the beginning of its commercialization, Golding almost repeats the two-model perspective by Croteau and Hoynes. Golding writes: “The corporate takeover and commercialization of the Internet can lead easily to a weary fatalism, accepting that another potentially liberating technology has been engulfed by the still rampant forces of “free market” (Golding, 1996: 140). Golding evaluates the meaning of new communication factor thinking about the diversity and conglomeration, and foresees the development of cyberdemocracy at the nearest future.
Cyberdemocracy will combine the digital public space with hyper-individualism, but it won’t be worldwide, according to Golding. He warns about the future differentiation of communicational technologies both on the national and international level (Golding, 1996: 144). Pointing on the social inequality between industrialized countries like the USA and Japan and poorest countries of Sub-Saharian Africa the author tells that the Internet “repeats this picture only too clearly (Golding, 1996: 146)”.
Thus, the Internet is the powerful tool for public sphere creation, and it reflects the general situation on the global community with its social inequality. Wonderfully the idea of social inequality in public spheres was repeated by Graham and Marvin. Speaking about the digital divide, they write: “even in advanced industrial nations with rapidly maturing internet markets, whole sections of the urban population fail to benefit from the skills, education, equipment, infrastructure, capital, finance and support necessary to go and remain “on-line” (Graham, 2001: 222) .
thus, people who have this possibility just now, creating the new social groups, or public spheres, in newly-informatized, advantaged areas. This advantage can be used in almost all the spheres of human activity. Generally the access to network group is just the access to other public group because it gives the advantages to its members; however the significant difference is the geographical distribution. Graham and Marvin described the ways in which the recent restructuring of the utilities has marginalized poor communities, and track the changes in the development.
Though all the authors describe the problem of social sphere in different ways, it is obvious that the public sphere is the important concept for the contemporary social science. The role of media in the life of modern society can also be hardly over valuated. Conclusion In this research the idea of public sphere was analyzed. Croteau and Hoynes pay more attention to the division between market-model and public-sphere model of media development, Golding researched the significance of the internet, and Graham and Marvin analysed the social and financial foundation of the social inequality.
However, all the three authors were describing the different models of interaction it the public spheres. References Golding, P. (1990), “Political Communication And Citizenship: The Media And Democracy In An Inegalitarian Social Order”. In M. Ferguson (Ed), Public Communication: The New Imperatives, London: Sage, 84-100. Graham S. and Marvin S. (1996) Telecommunications and the City: Electronic Spaces, Urban Places, London Routledge Croteau, D. & Hoynes, W. (2001). The Business of Media: Corporate Media and the Public Interest. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. Demers,
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