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folder icon   08-14-2007, 12:08 PM
Marx and the bourgeois public sphere Post #1
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So young Marx saw that the development of the bourgeois public sphere did not end domination in society but only put the old feodal powerstructures to an end. Instead it created new ones between the owners of production machinery and workers. Thus the creation of the bourgeois publicity cannot claim to transform the old forms of domination to those of reason because the publicity is not open to the non-proprietors. Publicity cannot escape the fact that it's based on ideology and not reason.

Only if one can put an end to class domination and thus eliminate the special intrests the power of reasoning publicity can be possible.




And yes... I've been reading Habermas lately...

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folder icon   08-14-2007, 02:48 PM
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You know, you could easily create an interesting discussion from this if you transformed the lingo used in the book you read into something that is understandable for someone not so up to date on the subject.

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folder icon   08-15-2007, 10:55 AM
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He sais commie bastards fucked up da leet kings and feudal system and turned them in to nubs. But only to create a new leets ... the upper middle class factory workers etc. So te old type of domination still excists only in a new form.

So FoF sais its ideology and not reason.

But dear FoF its reason within an ideology. Everythign as postulates so almost everything in politics are ideologies.

agree class domination is bad. But its the democracys fault.

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folder icon   08-15-2007, 12:24 PM
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And now I will convert what Urin said into English! Nah, that's too difficult, i won't try.

I've personally viewed history through the evolution of proper governance rather than class struggle. Improper government creates class based system. An imbalance of power, unfair suffrage, biased distribution of capital, etc, throughout history, imo was primarily due to poor systems of government arising from imperfect systems.

We started off with warlords who just beat up whoever countered their power, and with such a system, he would take all the riches and loot. Thus it created two classes, the bitches and the lord of war. As bureaucracy took over places in china, democracy in athens, republic in rome etc, you had a different distribution of power and resources based on new rules which then create whole different social classes. It's not so much necessarily revolution or class struggle that produces new and better society, afterall Rome was sacked by barbarians, not by a class revolution. The feudal system was gradually swept away, there weren't many revolutions at all except for the French revolution. The rest were much more gradual tendencies for people to demand better governance which in turn made class distinction less acute.

Today's society is still class-based, but with better governments like in Scandanvia, the class distinction isnt very acute. What's it matter to the "poor" proletariat if he's still making 80k USD/year and living it up as much as he likes? The difference between living well and having ten billion dollars is non-existent in terms of happiness. The one vote per person gives a fairly fair distribution of suffrage. Very few have to complain that the government abandons them.

Notice, all of the west is capitalist, but the greivances vary widely. In America, corporations dominate the law system and rich people pwn the poor in every law suit. Poor people cant get patents in the USA because you require hte backing of a corporation, which then assumes the rights to your invention. Gone are the good ole days of USA when working hard meant something. Yet, just across the border in Canada, RIM became a multi-billion dollar company just from a simple patent on the blackberry (which still can somehow get contested in the USA...). In fact, in the city my university is at, there are over a dozen startups from simple patents turning into million dollar companies.

In the US, the no-voter lists bans hundreds of thousands of black people from voting across the country. In Canada no such problem. In France, muslims are treated like shit shoved into giant slums, in Canada, they're equal citizens living in nice expensive suburbs. In Canada, the median family income is 75 000 CAD/year and rising every year, leading to a healthy strong middle class. In the USA, their median family income has barely moved for the last decade, and only now has reached 45k USD/year.

What's different between our countries is the government, not the economic system. Capitalism works fine so long as the government runs it properly.

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folder icon   08-15-2007, 02:25 PM
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Actually the question was not about whether or not capitalism works. The stuff I wrote above is just one example on how Marx must be understood in as a much more influental social scientist than just an economic determinist. Good points Ultra_Punk but on a different debate

An open institutionalised publicity is currently seen as a pre-condition to democracy (and that's why the Press is often called the fourth form of political power). The Bourgeois idea was that this publicity was open to everyone as long as people had equal oppertunities to become owners and get education needed to participate. A public debate of reason must be freed of special intrests and therefore grounded on the idea of common good.

What Marx then suggested was that because of the continued domination the public cannot A) be open to everyone because people don't have equal oppertunities to become owners and B) there exists special intrests because of class domination

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folder icon   08-15-2007, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Friend of Fidel
So young Marx saw that the development of the bourgeois public sphere did not end domination in society but only put the old feodal powerstructures to an end. Instead it created new ones between the owners of production machinery and workers. Thus the creation of the bourgeois publicity cannot claim to transform the old forms of domination to those of reason because the publicity is not open to the non-proprietors. Publicity cannot escape the fact that it's based on ideology and not reason.

Only if one can put an end to class domination and thus eliminate the special intrests the power of reasoning publicity can be possible.




And yes... I've been reading Habermas lately...


Am I the only one who's curious over your use of the term "publicity"?

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folder icon   08-15-2007, 07:35 PM
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We are so immensely different both in opinions, interests, taste and priorities. The thing is: if its not the upper-class, its the religious, the companies, the military, the "tribal metaled", the media or ideologies. There will always be power struggles, and one of the problems with a pure democracy is that we some times get a "60%" domination over the last "40%" which is bad no matter the cause, but we have a constitution and its the best thing we got so far.

IMO There is no common good, only subjective good. But special interests are always hindering the free public debate. Maybe we should have a more " platon " way of government. Though he meant kings should be philosophers or philosophers should become kings. But I would like to se a government based on empirical thought and basic secular ideas, and governed by professors and let them run the nation like they run science, only with baby steps, testing and testing and testing. And learning from their faults, now we have a lot of rhetoric and pathos from all of the politicians and most of the people don't read the scientific results or even care, and are to easy to compromise with a "big button and a commercial" by the lobbyists of the ... special interests.

And yes, a open society is needed for it to be a good democracy also education in critical thinking and not to mention, that politicians are honest and people have the time and wanting to get into the different causes. So many countries don't have a democracy, even though they claim they do.

We will never have equal opportunity, but in Norway all people do have the possibility to get an education. The socialist thought is great, but there is a limit to it. The rich once are paying for it, which makes the people much less willing to try to start something new.

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folder icon   08-15-2007, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Maybe we should have a more " platon " way of government.

Plato advocated a social system that was totaly organized in its absolute entierety around an ideology based on his conception of justice, where individuals were subordinated to this ideology.

But just replace the concept of "wisdom" that is at the base of the platonician concept of "justice" with the concept of communism, nazism, maoism, fascism or scientism, and there you have it, just another totalitarian system.

Clearly, any society that is totaly organized aroung a given ideology will have no problem justifying any treatment to its citizens in the name of this ideology, may it be a religion, science, peace or justice.

The only society that has a chance of being just is a society that organize itself around the well being of its individuals, and that goes on from there. Its called humanism.

Knowing this, its possible to say that Plato actualy described the worst possible from of human society, indirectly criticising the society he lived in, as some sort of warning. Not unlike it is possible to say that Machiavelli's "Prince" is an indirect warning to the common people, to show them how the Prince fucked them over with pretty principles for the sake of accumulating and maintaining power.

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folder icon   08-16-2007, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black~Enthusiasm
Am I the only one who's curious over your use of the term "publicity"?

touché

There's indeed a problem with the word publicity. Habermas uses the term "Öffentlicheit" which means public (in the sence of being open to everyone) This word is not to be confused with being the opposite of private in this instance.

The Key Concept is the that there exists a bourgeois public sphere for rational-critical political debate for the formation of public opinion. So when an issue gets publicity it means that it goes through this debate and a public opinion about it is formed.

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folder icon   08-16-2007, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Friend of Fidel
touché

There's indeed a problem with the word publicity. Habermas uses the term "Öffentlicheit" which means public (in the sence of being open to everyone) This word is not to be confused with being the opposite of private in this instance.


Thanks for the clarification. In french, "publicity" translate to "advertisement", so I was confused here.
Quote:

The Key Concept is the that there exists a bourgeois public sphere for rational-critical political debate for the formation of public opinion. So when an issue gets publicity it means that it goes through this debate and a public opinion about it is formed.

And then what?

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folder icon   08-16-2007, 01:40 AM
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And Marx's point is that this doesn't happen even in theory.

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folder icon   08-16-2007, 03:24 AM
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What's a "bourgeois public sphere for rational-critical political debate for the formation of public opinion"?

And what exactly doesnt happen even in theory? and why?

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folder icon   08-16-2007, 05:25 AM
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I agree that governments based on total ideologies are rather bad. We have kind of figured that out during the last millennia. But I was not talking about A “plato“ way of government, but “ more OF a Plato way of government“. It’s been 2300 years you can not take the entire governmental view of a philosopher that lived so long ago. We have learned a thing or two. I am sorry if I was not clear, but I tried to mention what part I would like to try. But I do agree with you a secular humanist tolerant government is the best way to go, so far, but the thing is the current democracy has a lot of faults.

To run a government is like any other “ class subject “, trying and failing and testing. Now the public often doesn’t have the same access to the data, and there is less research than at least I would want. We need a more of a “lets test this and see what happens”.

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folder icon   08-16-2007, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black~Enthusiasm
What's a "bourgeois public sphere for rational-critical political debate for the formation of public opinion"?


bourgeois public sphere:
In the early 17th century the merchants and other people of the bourgeois class began to challenge the absolute state with new ideas of giving the bourgeois more freedom of profession and trade.

Their arguments were of rational-critical in nature because their goals were identified with the common good of the whole society and were based on reason and not values.

Public opinion was the result of this kind of debate. Not the average opinion of the masses but the opinion reached by the more educated bourgeois class. People of the nobility and the commons were excluded from the debate because the first group had a special intrest of maintaining the old order and their privileges and the second one because they were ignorant.

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folder icon   08-16-2007, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Friend of Fidel
bourgeois public sphere:
In the early 17th century the merchants and other people of the bourgeois class began to challenge the absolute state with new ideas of giving the bourgeois more freedom of profession and trade.

Their arguments were of rational-critical in nature because their goals were identified with the common good of the whole society and were based on reason and not values.

Public opinion was the result of this kind of debate. Not the average opinion of the masses but the opinion reached by the more educated bourgeois class. People of the nobility and the commons were excluded from the debate because the first group had a special intrest of maintaining the old order and their privileges and the second one because they were ignorant.


Also religions hold was weakened tue to growing of enlighenment thinking which lowered the holy instatement of the king. But the values back then were more of the church knows whats right. And they started using postulates instead. And yes, you got the people with moeny and the people with education come together ... amazing things can happen. Marx - Engles.

Also whats interesting is that Hegel is the philosophical grandfather of both Nazism and Communism. And Marx borrowed alot of his philosophy!

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folder icon   08-16-2007, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Friend of Fidel
Thus the creation of the bourgeois publicity cannot claim to transform the old forms of domination to those of reason

I doubt anyone ever seriously stated that the public debate (this is how I translate you concept of publicity) was organized around reason and logic, or that it could be, or that it should be.

After stating this about the Public Sphere, what did Marx went on to say?

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folder icon   08-17-2007, 10:11 PM
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Anyway, here's what I think that you're getting at.

1- the bourgeoi class toke over the Public Sphere (where the public debate is possible. We call it the Public space in french) in the name of principles derrived from a critical and rational thinking (principles such as equality)

2-The bougeois class now control much of the Public Sphere in the name of an ideology, which subordinate the public debate in favor of their interests.

Am I right?

If so, whats your definition of an ideology? whats Marx's?

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folder icon   08-18-2007, 01:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black~Enthusiasm
Anyway, here's what I think that you're getting at.

1- the bourgeoi class toke over the Public Sphere (where the public debate is possible. We call it the Public space in french) in the name of principles derrived from a critical and rational thinking (principles such as equality)

2-The bougeois class now control much of the Public Sphere in the name of an ideology, which subordinate the public debate in favor of their interests.

Am I right?

If so, whats your definition of an ideology? whats Marx's?


For the most part. The bourgeois class did control the Public Sphere back in the 18th century and late 19th century but with the emergence of mass culture the Public Sphere ceases to function by this way.

Marx defines ideology as a false conscieusness that the dominant class uses to keep the masses under control. Karl Mannheim saw ideology as the perhaps deliberate obscuring of facts. So the way I see it, ideology is a coherent system of thought combining elements of belief and facts and it can be defined as good or bad (or something inbetween) but not true or false since the value elements cannot be verified scientificaly.

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folder icon   08-18-2007, 02:31 AM
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-Whats a conciousness, according to Marx?

- How does the Public sphere work nowaday? How did it worked back then?

Quote:
but not true or false since the value elements cannot be verified scientificaly.

- I dont think that you can judge an ideology's worth in term of "true" or "false" (which is the domain of ultrapunk and his so called "science" mumbo-jumbo), but in terms of "good" or "bad". And you dont need the scientific method to prove something to be good or bad. Unless I'm wrong..?

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folder icon   08-18-2007, 03:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black~Enthusiasm
-Whats a conciousness, according to Marx?

- How does the Public sphere work nowaday? How did it worked back then?


- Maybe this article in Wiki can give you a better answer than me
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_consciousness

- That's a tough one. I'm by no means a media expert or anything but our friend Jürgen writes that the public sphere has become a domain of mass culture and manipulative publicity and the link of critical-public debate has been cut off. (a governement for example cut taxes just before elections to make them more popular and then a bunch of well known individuals spam the letter to the editor section with manipulative BS)

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folder icon   08-18-2007, 12:15 PM
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I can admit that the public debate is tweaked by a dominating ideology. For exemple, while the medias wont hesitate to ruin the reputation of a "bourgeois" (HEADLINE: Billgate affaire with Clinton Baby inside UFO!), no major media outlet or major social institutions will allow a real public debate on the nature of the capitaliste système, especially if this debate could result in an alternative. Ideologies are rarely self-destructive: instead, they spread perpetuate themselves.

However, most western countries try hard to integrate as many individuals in their societies. And false-conciouness or not, the public sphere is still open to everyone who is integrated and not excluded in a given society. As such, while the public sphere isnt objective because of the dominating ideology and of those who would enforce it, the public debate is still subjected to the critical judgement of the individuals who bother to participate in the public sphere (and most people are free to participate). And while the critical judgement of those individuals isnt always objective, it is still capable of generating an alternative to the dominating ideology. And even if people dont try to generate a real alternative anymore, they're capable of criticizing this ideology.

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folder icon   08-18-2007, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black~Enthusiasm
I can admit that the public debate is tweaked by a dominating ideology. For exemple, while the medias wont hesitate to ruin the reputation of a "bourgeois" (HEADLINE: Billgate affaire with Clinton Baby inside UFO!), no major media outlet or major social institutions will allow a real public debate on the nature of the capitaliste système, especially if this debate could result in an alternative. Ideologies are rarely self-destructive: instead, they spread perpetuate themselves.

However, most western countries try hard to integrate as many individuals in their societies. And false-conciouness or not, the public sphere is still open to everyone who is integrated and not excluded in a given society. As such, while the public sphere isnt objective because of the dominating ideology and of those who would enforce it, the public debate is still subjected to the critical judgement of the individuals who bother to participate in the public sphere (and most people are free to participate). And while the critical judgement of those individuals isnt always objective, it is still capable of generating an alternative to the dominating ideology. And even if people dont try to generate a real alternative anymore, they're capable of criticizing this ideology.


Aye, but a bunch of active citizens just aren't enough. The problem is more structural. I mean like if you had an idea to save the world and make everyone rich would you get to spread it through a mass media?

For Marx the problem of this kind of false conscieousness lies in the fact that when the public sphere can produce nothing but ideology, the element of tested truth (to Kant every true argument must withstand any critical public debate) that should be the guiding principle of the state is lost. But the assumption that there's a functional public sphere didn't disappear. It got nailed down in the early modern european constitutions and it was given a recognized status as a public organ keeping an eye on governance.

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folder icon   08-25-2007, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Friend of Fidel


For Marx the problem of this kind of false conscieousness lies in the fact that when the public sphere can produce nothing but ideology, the element of tested truth (to Kant every true argument must withstand any critical public debate) that should be the guiding principle of the state is lost.


I can agree with the concept that a system can hardly produce an alternative to itself. A society, or a public sphere, that is thoroughly invested by an ideology isnt likely to willingly allow the emergence of an alternative that can compete with itself. and here, even if we can devise an alternative the dominating ideology, we just wont have the tools to apply it and to give it a chance to succeed.

Having said this, what does marxism goes on to say?

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folder icon   08-26-2007, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black~Enthusiasm
I can agree with the concept that a system can hardly produce an alternative to itself. A society, or a public sphere, that is thoroughly invested by an ideology isnt likely to willingly allow the emergence of an alternative that can compete with itself. and here, even if we can devise an alternative the dominating ideology, we just wont have the tools to apply it and to give it a chance to succeed.

Having said this, what does marxism goes on to say?

That drawing the system up by its roots through revolution is the only way to solve the problem? Otherwise, I dont know .

Fidel, does this theory allow for the inherent dynamism of societies, or does it disregard gradual change and evolvement?

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folder icon   08-26-2007, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K0d0
That drawing the system up by its roots through revolution is the only way to solve the problem? Otherwise, I dont know .

Fidel, does this theory allow for the inherent dynamism of societies, or does it disregard gradual change and evolvement?


Absolutely not since it's very case specific.

But on the other hand its principles can be found in our current constitutions (the idea of critical publicity watching over public power)

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folder icon   08-26-2007, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K0d0
That drawing the system up by its roots through revolution is the only way to solve the problem? Otherwise, I dont know .


I hope someone here knows, or else this thread will be pointless.

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folder icon   08-26-2007, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Friend of Fidel
Absolutely not since it's very case specific.

But on the other hand its principles can be found in our current constitutions (the idea of critical publicity watching over public power)

What in my post did you answer? The statement or the question?

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folder icon   08-27-2007, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black~Enthusiasm
I hope someone here knows, or else this thread will be pointless.

It has lost its meaning a while ago

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folder icon   08-27-2007, 11:51 AM
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This is what happens when you have to spend the first 24 posts clarifying things.

Why dont you go ahead and give it meaning again.

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folder icon   08-27-2007, 12:51 PM
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No no it was cool

I had an exam where one of the books was this Jürgen Habermas's "Transformation of the Public Sphere". It was useful to explain stuff as it helped me to get through the exam

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folder icon   08-27-2007, 02:19 PM
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Oh, I agree that the stuff you're talking about, and Marxism in general (okay, the litle I know about it), are fantastic conceptual tools usefull for criticism. But in criticism, there's a first moment where you deconstruct, and another moment where you must construct something better. And marxism is failing hard on the second part of a pertinant criticism. Which I think is again exemplified by this thread, unless you come up with an explanation as to what to do about the public sphere once you know the fact that it is heavily biased by an ideology.

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folder icon   11-06-2007, 11:05 AM
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Should we open a new discussion about deliberative democracy?

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folder icon   11-07-2007, 02:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Friend of Fidel
Should we open a new discussion about deliberative democracy?

We should not.

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folder icon   11-07-2007, 06:24 AM
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Ok with me that we don't since Habermas is a major influence behind the theory of deliberative democracy. Any thoughts?

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folder icon   11-07-2007, 06:13 PM
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You guys are hte masters of making arts look completely futile.

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