The Public Sphere in Stratified Modernity

The paper aims at elaborating a concept of public sphere based on theories analyzing the characteristics of “classic” (Bourdieu, Habermas) and “late” (Giddens, Lash) modernity, and also describe the post-socialist Hungarian public sphere based on this model. In the first part of the essay a short history of the concept of public sphere is introduced according to Arendt’s, Habermas’ and Arato-Cohen’s analyses. In the second part the public sphere is described as a surface capable of mediating between social spheres integrated by various mechanisms of action coordination: a conservative, a reflexive and a cybernetic sphere. In the third part the potential of constructing such a public sphere is examined based on the database of a representative survey (n=1000) measuring the political and communication patterns in Hungary.

Released: Replika 95, 113–130.