Sunday, October 21, 2012

New Book: Beyond Habermas - Democracy, Knowledge, and the Public Sphere

Beyond Habermas
Democracy, Knowledge, and the Public Sphere

Ed. by Christian J. Emden & David Midgley

(Berghahn Books, 2012)

248 pages


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.


Introduction - Christian J. Emden & David Midgley

Part I: Public Opinion in the Democratic Polity

1. Public Sphere and Political Experience - Richard Wilson
2. Public Opinion and Public Sphere - Gordon Graham
3. The Tyranny of Majority Opinion in the Public Sphere - Gary Wihl

Part II: Knowledge and the Public Sphere

4. Epistemic Publics - Christian J. Emden
5. The Public in Public Health - Anne Hardy
6. Geeks and Recursive Publics - Christopher Kelty 

Part III: Democracy, Philosophy, and Global Publics

7. Mediating the Public Sphere - Georgina Born
8. Critique of Public Reason - Steven G. Crowell
9. On the Global Multiplicity of Public Spheres - James Tully

Christian J. Emden is Associate Professor of German Intellectual History and Political Thought at Rice University. 

David Midgley is Reader in German Literature and Culture at the University of Cambridge.

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