Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere

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Representative publicity of the old type is not thereby revived; but it still lends certain traits to a refeudalized public sphere of civil society whose characteristic feature…is that the large-scale organizers in state and society "manage the propagation of their positions".

Here, Habermas argues for the return of certain historical traits in modern society. A representative style of publicity is evident in the way modern politicians relate to the public; they do not argue and engage, but merely present themselves and the image of their party before the voters. Not only politicians, but also the other "large-scale organizers" such as non-overnmental pressure groups, bureaucratic structures and lobby groups, practise this kind of manipulation. This deterioration in the quality and nature of publicity is part of a wider process that Habermas calls refeudalization, by which state and society, private and public merge again. This process does not involve the return of medieval social structures, merely the appearance of some aspects of a feudal system.

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