Habermas: Rescuing the Public Sphere

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Overview

"This study explores the major episodes in Habermas' thinking about the public sphere. From the outset, he has maintained that the complex ambiguity of the Enlightenment, its cultural achievements and potentials have been poorly understood. Whereas his first major work tried to retrieve this ambiguity by excavating the neglected public-democratic core of Enlightenment liberalism, his later writings attempted to provide this cultural potential with a more secure anthropological basis in the pragmatics of communication." Habermas' project of re-animating the significance of the public sphere and rescuing the neglected potentials of Enlightenment legacies has been deeply controversial. For many, it is too lacking in radical commitments to warrant its claim to a contemporary place within a critical theory tradition. Against this charge, Pauline Johnson defends Habermas' utopian credentials while simultaneously arguing that his own construction of contemporary emancipatory hopes is too narrow and one-sided.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Pauline Johnson teaches in the Sociology Department at Macquarie University, Sydney. She has published widely on topics in contemporary critical theory and feminist theory.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction : the plight of the public sphere 1
2 The structural transformation of the public sphere 18
3 The theory of communicative action 38
4 Discourse ethics and the normative justification of tolerance 63
5 A discourse theory of law and democracy 78
6 Globalizing the public sphere 100
7 The utopian energies of a radical reformist 117
8 Romantic and enlightenment legacies : the postmodern critics 134
9 Distorted communications : Habermas and feminism 152
10 Conclusion 166
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