• The public sphere is an area in social life where people can get together and freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political action.
  • The public sphere is a concept introduced by Jurgen Habermas to describe an ideal democratic space for rational debate among informed and engaged citizens, a space that would thus be an arena mediating between state and society. Habermas connects the establishment of a modern conception of private and public to the establishment of a liberal, capitalist society, wheres news became a commodity sold by merchants--led to cultures of open debate which occur in a public sphere seen necessary to a true democracy (Rettberg 46)
  • Many scholars have discussed the relevance of the web and blogging to the idea of the concept of the public sphere, while many people dispute the idea that the public sphere ever existed
  • Richard Sennett: "Electronic communications is one means by which the very idea of public life has been put to an end. The media have vastly increased the store of knowledge social groups have about each other, but have rendered actual contact unnecessary." (Rettberg 46)
  • The decline of the public sphere was originally attributed to radio and television. Radios and televisions were both used in the home, so people no longer had a need to venture outside to find out information and to discuss it with others. Anything anyone needed to know could really be discovered simply by turning a knob on the radio or television. The fact that radio and television could be listened to while multitasking even further eliminated the need to venture out in the "public sphere" to get information. The radio and television were one-way sources of information.
  • Blogging and the Internet have created a new kind of public sphere. Chat rooms, forums, and comments on blog posts and websites now function in the same way as outdoor forums did, all the way back in ancient times. The simultaneous and instantaneous aspects of the Internet, while not a perfect replacement for actual person-to-person conversation, do facilitate the same function and allow for great conversation and debate to take place.