The Public Sphere and the Populist Challenge

In the sixties and seventies the public spheres in Western countries were places of critique. Various kinds of social movements democratised institutions and political culture. Today neoliberal politics and populist movements have transformed these arenas into theatres of real challenge to democracy. The outcome of this challenge will depend on how democratic political actors make their presence felt in the public sphere.

Walter Privitera is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Milan-Bicocca. He works in the areas of cultural sociology and social theory. Current primary research interests include the public sphere, theories of individualisation as well as Europe and its changes. His most recent books are Tecnica, individuo e società (2004), Sfera pubblica e democratizzazione (2012), Gli usi della sfera pubblica (2012).

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

PART 1

THE PUBLIC SPHERE A COMPLEX CONCEPT

1. THE IDEA OF THE PUBLIC SPHERE

The Classical Public Sphere

The Arrival of Textuality: The Media

2. THE PUBLIC SPHERE IN HABERMAS. A THEORETICAL JOURNEY 

The Thematic Shift

The Theory of Communicative Action 

Constitutional State and Democracy: Between Facts and Norms

The Discourse Model

The Topography

Uses of the Public Sphere

PART 2

A RESPONSIVE PUBLIC SPHERE

3. THE MEDIATISED PUBLIC SPHERE AND THE POPULIST CHALLENGE

Structural Transformations

Populist Forces

4. A RESPONSIVE PUBLIC SPHERE

Some Particular Characteristics of the Responsive Public Sphere

5. PUBLIC SPACE VS. RESPONSIVE PUBLIC SPHERE

Public Space

Responsive Public Sphere

Responsive Public Sphere and Distance from Praxis

6. BEHIND THE SCENES

Political Culture

Cultural Hegemony 

Political Dispositions

APPENDIX

PUBLIC SPHERE AND POPULISMIN EUROPE. THE GERMAN CASE

Origins of the Crisis: The Concealed Neoliberalism of German Politics

The Great Cover-up: “Round up the usual suspects”

The New Hegemonic Discourse in German

Public Sphere

BIBLIOGRAPHY