The Public Sphere, or as I like to call it The Public 3D Circle, A media theory straight out of the Media Toolbox. The man behind the theory, Jurgen Habermas is a German philosopher, he developed the theory in 1962. Habermas’ definition of a public sphere is a metaphor for a social space where people get together to exchange ideas, debate and communicate issues, or otherwise known as, talk about the news and what is going on. Jurgen Habermas defines it as – “The public sphere is seen as a domain of social life where public opinion can be formed.” (Habermas, 1991, 398)
Public spheres operate through various types of media. From twitter, zoom and any apps where people and communicate to discuss issues. Although public spheres don’t have to operate through just media as it can be a meeting place. Habermas references it as an 18th-century coffee house.
Twitter is a useful tool as a public sphere, as it gives users the opportunities to connect, share and discuss issues in social, cultural and political issues, from getting coverage and data from the COVID-19 pandemic, to sharing views of tv shows (eg. MAFS, The Bachelor etc), Sporting events and more. This platform is used worldwide and a great way to connect with all kinds of people.
When thinking about the Public Sphere I encounter in my life a few come to mind. From my family to my new found friends from uni, I find myself connecting in Public Spheres daily. During this unusual time of events, from face to face communication, to all online, the dynamic of my spheres have changed.
Although through this change I have noticed an increase in how we are communicating, discussing topics, debating issues and comparing notes. My uni friends and I have created a group chat which we communicate daily about topics including uni work, personal experiences/issues, and everyday news topics. COVID-19 is such a large portion of all conversations and news channels at the moment, which invites a whole new can of worms to share individual opinions and connect to people globally.
My friends and I have been using applications such as Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Zoom and more, to stay connected during these lockdown restrictions. We are able to communicate about tasks we are unsure about and share different views and opinions. The same goes with family, while the majority of us are at our house, my sister is at her own house, which means our public “social space” sphere has been transferred from the kitchen table or living area to our family WhatsApp group, but sometimes online just isn’t the same.
This theory allows us to communicate in ways of collaboration. Being able to share ideas, debate issues and discuss a range of news topics together. This is the public 3D circle.
Mwengenmeir. (2014, February 28). Habermas’ Public Sphere. Retrieved April 18, 2020, from https://opentextbc.ca/mediastudies101/chapter/habermas-public-sphere/
Public Sphere. Retrieved April 19, 2020, from https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199756841/obo-9780199756841-0030.xml