Electronic and Digital Media in World Society

The Role of Mass Media and the Public Sphere in Social Communication

Based on Luhmann’s social theory the paper aims at interpreting the role of the spreading of electronic and digital media in the increasing complexity of modern society and the development of world society. On the other hand, it analyses the peculiarities of mass media originating from the appearing of electronic media. It raises the question what influence mass media has on other subsystems of society and what challenges it poses for participants of communication. The paper argues that the rationality of mass media transformed the hierarchic and heterarchic organisation of society to a significant degree and strengthened the horizontal structure of society. Th rough contesting Habermas’ views it argues that public sphere is not characterised by a consense structure, so the systems theoretical approach renounces the idea that an analysis of the public sphere has to foreground rationality.

Released: Replika 95, 131–152.