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Beyond Habermas: Democracy, Knowledge, and the Public Sphere

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Beyond Habermas

Democracy, Knowledge, and the Public Sphere

Edited by Christian J. Emden and David Midgley

232 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-721-9 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (November 2012)

ISBN  978-1-78238-668-1 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (December 2014)

eISBN 978-0-85745-722-6 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


Informed, informative, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and reflecting an expansion based or inspired in part upon the earlier work of Habermas, this superb anthology of impeccable scholarship is a seminal and highly recommended body of work. Enhanced with the inclusion of an extensive bibliography, notes on the contributors, and a comprehensive index, Beyond Habermasis an essential addition to academic library philosophy collections.”  ·  The Midwest Book Review

This is an interesting collection of essays by a set of prominent and important scholars. Most of the essays respond to Habermas’ early book, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. They do so, however, in a wide variety of fields… It is a huge benefit, in that the reader is not fed a diet of restricted and distorting examples, as is so often the case when political theorists debate the notion of the public space or the public voice.”  ·  Andrew Norris, University of California, Santa Barbara


During the 1960s the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas introduced the notion of a “bourgeois public sphere” in order to describe the symbolic arena of political life and conversation that originated with the cultural institutions of the early eighteenth-century; since then the “public sphere” itself has become perhaps one of the most debated concepts at the very heart of modernity. For Habermas, the tension between the administrative power of the state, with its understanding of sovereignty, and the emerging institutions of the bourgeoisie—coffee houses, periodicals, encyclopedias, literary culture, etc.—was seen as being mediated by the public sphere, making it a symbolic site of public reasoning. This volume examines whether the “public sphere” remains a central explanatory model in the social sciences, political theory, and the humanities.

Christian J. Emden is Professor of German Intellectual History and Political Thought at Rice University. He is the author of Nietzsche on Language, Consciousness, and the Body (University of Illinois Press, 2005) and Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of History (Cambridge University Press, 2008).

David Midgley is Professor in German Literature and Culture at the University of Cambridge, England, and a Fellow of St. John’s College. His publications include WritingWeimar: Critical Realismin German Literature, 1918–1933 (Oxford University Press, 2000).

Subject: Cultural Studies (General) History (General) Media Studies Literary Studies


Introduction: Beyond Habermas? From the Bourgeois Public Sphere to Global Publics
Christian J. Emden and David Midgley

Part I: Public Opinion in the Democratic Polity

Chapter 1. Public Sphere and Political Experience
Lord (Richard) Wilson

Chapter 2. Public Opinion and Public Sphere
Gordon Graham

Chapter 3. The Tyranny of Majority Opinion in the Public Sphere
Gary Wihl

Part II: Knowledge and the Public Sphere

Chapter 4. Epistemic Publics: On the Trading Zones of Knowledge
Christian J. Emden

Chapter 5. The Public in Public Health
Anne Hardy

Chapter 6. Geeks and Recursive Publics: How the Internet and Free Software Make Things Public
Christopher Kelty

Part III: Democracy, Philosophy, and Global Publics

Chapter 7. Mediating the Public Sphere: Digitization, Pluralism, and Communicative Democracy
Georgina Born

Chapter 8. Critique of Public Reason: Normativity, Legitimation, and Meaning in the Public Sphere
Steven G. Crowell

Chapter 9. On the Global Multiplicity of Public Spheres: The Democratic Transformation of the Public Sphere?
James Tully


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