The Public Sphere By Nancy Fraser

Decent Essays

Nancy Fraser’s article speaks as both critical analysis and a modern day interpretation Jürgen Habermas’ concept of the public sphere. Through the application of a revisionist historical lens, Fraser both highlights the limits of the original concept of a single public sphere, and introduces interpretations of it as applied to modern day social issues. Through these critiques, Fraser is successful in forwarding the theory of the public sphere as an indispensible element to the application of critical theory. Drawing on examples in late capitalist societies, Fraser illustrates an alternate proposal of co-existing multiple public spheres as a more accurate representation of this theory in practice.
Fraser informs the reader that Habermas’ concept of the public sphere served as a regulating force in the promotion of both democracy, and as a guideline for separation between public and private areas. This sphere was comprised of politically minded and motivated individuals existing outside of the realms of government, business and association; with a mandate for debate of matters of public or common interest; excluding those interests deemed private. Its intention was to serve as arbitrators between the public and the state. (58) Critics and revisionist historians however state Habermas’ account was an idealized version unrepresentative of the public it claimed to speak for. Fraser contends the logic of the single public sphere’s guiding principles, going so far as suggesting

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