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Public Ssphere in Ccontemporary Ppolitical Tthought: Ccivic, Ppolitical, Rrevolutionary?

The terms “public” and “private” or their equivalents have been integral components of political vocabulary since Ancient Greece. However, throughout history, their meanings have been constantly redefined. In Ancient Greece, the public was of paramount importance, while the private was considered as a part of human life which was idle and deprived of any meaning; in feudal Europe this rigid boundary disappeared and any sort of power relationship now combined both public and private dimensions; in modern Europe the public in the form of transcendental and universalist state was again reinstated as a separate sphere of human life, still it was considered as a necessary evil, as something subordinate to private activity; finally, the XX century witnessed the sustainment of the cult of the private and a new erosion of the boundary between the public and the private (“refeodalization”) at the same time. What are the public and the private? Why is political thought so obsessed with defining something as private or public? How did various compositions of these two modes of human existence affect political life throughout history? How do they affect our life today? What is the relationship between the public and the political? Is public sphere a realm of “civil society” or it is a space of revolutionary politics? To address these questions, we will consider different public/private regimes in different epochs - Ancient Greece, Feudalism, Modern Europe, the XXth century - and the most prominent thinkers in this field - Hanna Arendt, Jurgen Habermas, Osar Negt and Alexander Kluge.

Session One. Public and Private in Political Thought.What are public and private? How and why does the perception of these categories vary and change across time? What are particular compositions of public/private regimes typical for different epochs? How do these compositions affect political and social life? To address these questions, we will focus on Arendt’s and Habermas’ theories.

Mandatory reading:

Arendt, Hannah (1998).: “The Public and The Private Realm” In: The Human Condition, University of Chicago Press. Ch. “The Public and The Private Realm”., 1998

Weintraub Jeffry (1997). “The Theory and Politics of the Public/Private Distinction” in Public and Private in Thought and Practice. Perspectives on a Grand Dichotomy / J. Weintraub, K. Kumar (Eds.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. P. 1—42.

Habermas, Jürgen (1974). “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article,” New German Critique, No. 3, pp. 49-55

Session Two. Liberal and Left Theories of Public and Private.The ideas about public, private and their relationships are analytic lenses used to study social and political life. As any other conceptual tools in political theory, they are highly dependent on political perspective scholars stick to. Depending on political preferences, they emphasize one moment and downplay others: as a result, theories of public sphere coined by, say, liberal and left-oriented theorists, will be drastically different. To see how political preferences and broader political perspective influence the models of public and private life scholars develop, we will consider the ideas of three key thinkers in this field – Jurgen Habermas, Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge.[MA1]



Habermas, Jürgen (1974). “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article,” New German Critique, No. 3, pp. 49-55

Habermas, Jürgen: “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article,” New German Critique, No. 3 (Autumn, 1974), pp. 49-55

Hansen, Miriam (1993). Foreword. In Negt O., Kluge A. Public Sphere and Experience. Toward an Analysis of the Bourgeois and Proletarian Public Sphere. London: University of Minnesota Press. P. IX – XLI.

Recommended reading:

Habermas, Jurgen (1991). J. Th e Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991. 301 p. Ch. 3

Frazer, Nancy (1990). Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy // Social Text. 1990. ¹ 25/26. P. 55—80.

Negt, Oskar and Alexander., Kluge (1993)A. Public Sphere and Experience. Toward an Analysis of the Bourgeois and Proletarian Public Sphere. London: University of Minnesota Press, 1993. 305 p.

Weintraub, Jeffry (1997). “Th e Th eory and Politics of the Public//Private Distinction in// Public and Private in Th ought and Practice. Perspectives on a Grand Dichotomy / J. Weintraub, K. Kumar (Eds.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997. P. 1—42.

Ikegamai, Eiko (2000). “A Sociological Theory of Publics: Identity and Culture as Emergent Properties in Networks” In: Social Research, Vol. 67, No. 4 (Winter 2000), pp. 989-1029.

 


Date: 2016-04-22; view: 234


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