The cultural constitution of publics

Yifat Gutman, Jeffrey C. Goldfarb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Publics are one of the fundamental social problems of modernity. The chapter reviews the history of publics and the different theoretical approaches to the public. It moves from the analysis of Habermas’s structural transformation of the public sphere toward the analysis of global, digitally mediated, and multiple spheres of publics. We also point out some of the challenges that spheres of publics face from new forms of authoritarianism. The main argument is that publics are culturally constituted. We view the distance between modern-day publics from the Habermasian ideal not as distortion or a loss, but as the recognition of the cultural complexity of public life today. We demonstrate empirical qualities of modern publics, and also stake out a normative position that opens public life to new kinds of participation, of different publics and counterpublics.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781351974103
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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