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Wilfrid Laurier University
Communication Studies
Patricia Molloy

CS206 WEEK 1 9/13/2012 3:07:00 PM Public sphere  Main theorist of the public sphere: Jurgen Habermas  Definition:  an area of social life where individuals/groups come together to identify and discuss society’s problems.  A space in which political participation is enacted through talk.  A realm of social life in which public opinion is formed.  A space of discourse which is often critical of the state  A theater of debating  Focuses on ideas of participatory democracy and how public opinion becomes political action through democratic processes  Study how information is deliberated in the public sphere & what influence the public sphere has on society.  Institutional critera:  Growing rates of literacy- more people are reading and understanding things  Accessibility to literature  New kind of critical journalism o Due to these 3 things emerging across Europe, this increased public communication & the public sphere  1) disregard of social status- people treated equal  2) domain of common concern- issues of criteria that hadn’t been questioned before  3) inclusivity- everyone had to be able to participate (British coffeehouses, French salons, etc.- places where people to discussed issues, which opened up questioning to economy and politics. This led to a new political class).  Signified separation of the church and the state. Power of church started to decline.  Bourgeois public sphere was separated from the sphere of the church and state.  It was soon destroyed by the media, which became a tool of political forces and amedium for advertising, rather than being a medium for the public to get their information on political issues.  This led to uneven distribution of wealth, which limited access to the public sphere.  Public sphere turned into something infiltrated by power, which selected what you discuss- control of communication.  Continues to accelerate with neo-liberal economic policies- media has lots of corporate influence- results in shrinking public sphere. Criticism of Public Sphere Theory:  Fraser: the Bourgeoius public sphere discriminated against women and lower social classes and was anything but accessible to anyone. Other clubs were formed to counter these ones.  Benhabib: imposes private/public split. Issues pushed out of public realm. The public sphere did not achknowledge the spheres in which women operate, but these are political issues.  Warner: Others argue this split is heteronormative- others that can’t operate can’t publicly claim their identities. This causes disconnect between public and private selves.  Hauser: public spheres are formed around dialogue/rhetoric concerning specific issues, not the identity of the population debating them.  Warner: public is a space of discourse organized by nothing other than discourse itself. Talks about the distinction of the public and a public. He talks about a third kind of public that only relates to texts and their circulation.  Characteristics of a Public: o It is self-organized- never just exists o It is a relation amongst strangers- strangerhood is a necessary medium of commonality o The address of public speech is both personal/impersonal Neoliberalism:  Economic theory of market functionalism- primacy of the market. Its been a disaster for many countries.  Emphasizes the efficienct of private enterprise, liberalized trade, open markets to promote globalization.  Maximizes role of private sector in determining political and economic priorities in the world.  Ended in 2008, started in 1980s  Belief in primacy of marketplace, transfer of public services into private secto, financial deregulation  Puts profits before people and results in growing gap with rich and poor.  Crisis of inequality of democracy.  Democracy: the right to vote.  Purest form of democracy: all citizens have an equal say in decisions, which affect their lives.  Comes from the Greek word “rule of people”.  Liberal democracy- equality, civil liberty, human rights  Representative democracy  Participatory democracy  Democracy not only seen as a political system, but an ideal- right to choose your own representation.  Almost all of this has disappeared with neoliberalism, which is now governed by the corporate and the rich.  The increasing privatization of public services means social issues are privatized. Notions of public good and community have been privatized with this over-idealized notion of freedon, ownership and individual responsibility.  Result: core public values like moral values have diminished. The public sphere is decreasing- instead of places for debate and discussion, there is now media.  We change our current culture through education. CS206 WEEK 4 9/13/2012 3:07:00 PM  Critique of neoliberalism. The Quebec student movement critiques neoliberalism. It is more about tuition costs, but it is also about debt.  Neoliberalism: economic philosophy that promote the increase in privatization, in determining the economic priorities of the world.  The role of government is to just let the markets run the world.  In addition to the growing gap between rich and poor, there is a focus on what has been lost in neoliberalism, which is a loss of public values and participation in public democracy and civic responsibility. Everything has become about the individual.  We see neoliberalism in how mass media operates in the interest of profits, appeasing the elites, rather than providing the public with information so that we can make informed decisions.  Corporate mass media distorts our perceptions of truth.  Governments and corporations tend to undermine democracy, instead of making public opinion possible.  Edward Bernays: Not whether public opinion is managed, but how it should be managed and by whom? The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process, the freedom to persuade and suggest.  PR employs over 200,000 employees in the USA.  Public relations industry is owned by the advertising industry, whose mission is to influence public opinion.  Everyone uses PR & it doesn’t have to be about spin.  By justifying propaganda as a practice essential to a democratic society, ethics and community are introduced into PR.  Bernays: PR is the practice of social responsibility.  PR is a communication activity that participates in community for better or for worse.  Gutstein pointed out that prime ministers and presidents are hired, not elected.  The problem is when public relations is allowed to remain hidden and civic problems are therefore hidden.  Example: cigarettes being advertised as making women not hungry, and making them lose weight.  Ingrid Sole expresses cause marketing is all that is wrong with neoliberalism by viewing social problems as marketing opportunities.  People don’t want the government interfering in their lives, and neoliberalism promotes dependings businesses to improve their lives, when it is really the government’s role.  Corporate philanthropy further marginializes the government’s role of social services.  WEEK 5 9/13/2012 3:07:00 PM  Edward Bernays: inventor of public relations.  Says we need propaganda in democracy.  Modern mass media society is linked to the perfection of propaganda. Corporations, governments and churches are able to effectively persuade people through propaganda.  Gutstein sees WWI as a necessity for institutions with vested power to justify and package those interests as a common good- propaganda in the war.  WWII platform:  Mobilize public support  Provide public with ampel info about the war  Had to keep messaging straight  Creel was a journalist and newspaper publisher.  Many pamphlets were circulated with propaganda
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