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Professional specialists have come to dominate public communication, and the modern public of the Enlightenment has been replaced by a "New Public", subject to mass persuasion through systematic advertising, lobbying, and other forms of media manipulation. Leon Mayhew examines this sociological development in terms of discourse and social influence, offering an original theory that bridges Talcott Parsons and Jürgen Habermas. He concludes that the present social order is unstable because good-faith, two-way discourse has been undermined.
Part I. Rhetoric and the Integration of Society: 1. Public influence in modern society; 2. Rhetoric and reason; Part II. Influence: 3. Influence: capacity to persuade; 4. Habermas and Parsons: critical issues regarding influence; 5. Public influence: a new paradigm; 6. The differentiation of rhetorical solidarity; Part III. The New Public: 7. The emergence of the New Public: advertising, market research and public relations; 8. Political communication in the New Public; 9. Forums for the redemption of influence; 10. The rhetoric of presentation.