Originally conceived as a place where private individuals come together to discuss issues of the state, Jürgen Habermas’ public sphere is made up of reasoned citizens, concerned with the decisions made by the ruling polity. Requiring a suspended judgement regarding inequalities of status, the existence of a single, unified sphere, the exclusion of all private discourse, and a clear distinction between civil society and the state, this vision of a place for representative democracy has taken on many critics since its introduction by Habermas in 1962. Nancy Fraser, in particular, argues that it was not simply unrealized, rather it was an unrealistic ideal altogether.

Download PDF.